Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gold Coast Restaurant Review: Mecca Bah, Broadbeach 8 January 2011

One of our Gold Coast stallholders recommended Mecca Bah which was serendipidous as we were looking for a place to dine on a Saturday night (read: too lazy to cook).

We called that afternoon to book and were advised there was only a 5.30pm or 9.30pm sitting available.  For a restaurant that opened its doors 2 days before Christmas, this was a good sign.....

particularly for a restaurant the size of Mecca Bah.  We calculated it would seat around 150.  In the current retail/hospitality environment the fact that this 2-week-old restaurant was fully booked was a fantastic sign.

The decor was lovely, very Moroccan (funny that) and nice low lighting, but not so low that you can't decipher the menu or recognise your dining companions.

First up were drinks.  We went off piste and ordered a cocktail not on the menu, a caprioska.

It was limey and fresh but could have done with some mint.  Small criticism though.

Despite there not being many people in the restaurant at 5.30pm, we waited a little while to order, although we did have a few visits from different and friendly staff prior to ordering.  We did attract the attention of a waiter eventually who was very helpful with the menu, recommending the mezze entrees of spicy Turkish lamb kofte with yoghurt & mint sauce ($13); chickpea battered mussels, almond skordalia ($15); and Bastilla (Moroccan chicken pastries) ($14).  We ordered a beautiful pinot, a 2009 Central Otago Maude Pinot, which was quite steep at $115.  The Maitre 'd explained to us later that the limited number and range of wines was due to not having the requisite equipment, which would be delivered soon.

In a word, the mezze were all TDF (for the uninitiated: To Die For).  The lamb kofte was very moist and contained delicate middle eastern spices.  The chickpea mussels were the biggest surprise.  Not only were those little guys delicious, but our kids tried them and ordered a plate for themselves after their their kids cheese pizza disappeared.  The final mezze was my favourite of the three: the slightly sweet, lightly spiced shredded chicken Bastilla pastries wrapped in oh-so-light filo pastry. The addition of cinnamon and icing sugar dusting was heaven.

Lamb Kofte

Chickpea battered mussels with almond skordalia

Chicken Bastilla (dusted with icing sugar & cinnamon)

On the recommendation of the aforementioned stallholder, we ordered the spit roasted lamb, rocket, yoghurt & sumac Turkish pizza (422).  The spit roasted lamb was tender and the flavours combined nicely, but in retrospect it might have been more adventurous trying one of the following Turkish pizzas on offer:

  • Pastirma (Turkish cured beef), roast garlic, fennel & goats cheese ($21);
  • Sardine, caramelised onion, roast tomato & olive ($20);
  • Spiced chicken with eggplant, rocket & tahini sauce ($22); or
  • Roast pumpkin, chilli, pomegranate jam & fetta ($21) Pomegranate jam?  OMG! Why didn't we order that??????

And then.... my favourite dish of the night: the Roasted vegetable tangine with eggplant, zucchini, carrot, onion, cous cous and chermoula spices.  The cous cous was sunken in the depths of the tagine and I would have preferred it to be on the side, but the sunken cous cous was forgiven because the flavours from the tangine were so beautifully subtle; the eggplant was soft and had absorbed all of the soupiness of the tagine whilst the other veggies were fine tagine party pals. The tagine was topped with a generous amount of fresh parsley and coriander.  Fresh herbs.  Mmmmm.

We did experience a few service hiccups (20 minutes for the bill, not having a dedicated waiter for our table so therefore lacking some attention, getting the wrong wine glasses for our pinot) however as a new restaurant with excellent food and a lovely ambience, these aspects can be forgiven. We will definitely be back and highly recommend this restaurant.

Mecca Bah
18-26 Charles Ave
Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Ph:  (07) 5504 7754
Web: (the website doesn't do the restaurant justice)

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