Consider Maha East the diffusion label to Maha, Shane Delia’s CBD temple of Middle Eastern fine dining.
Cooler, noisier and one of the hottest tickets in town, this tightly packed space on the edgy part of Chapel Street is a thrilling proposition for those without a plus one, thanks to a menu celebrating the mezze. Snacking your way to a full stomach is easy amid the hubbub and a bar seat is where you want to be, watched over by attentive staff who’ll make sure you never run dry as you sample dishes that swing from the orthodox to the outré.
Pickled white anchovies laid over thick labneh is classic Middle Eastern comfort food, while manti – delicate beeffilled Turkish dumplings – sluiced with chilli oil and yoghurt are lifted by a citrus kick of sumac. The showstopper is a taramasalata-filled fried bun topped with dill and a gleaming crown of fish roe. The only problem here is too much choice.
36 Chapel Street, Windsor; (03) 8419 8924; open Saturday-Sunday for lunch and seven days for dinner.