My birthday is coming up soon, so I went to a small dinner with friends just to sort of celebrate. I don't really celebrate my birthday but we just use our birthdays as an excuse to visit some fancy restaurant which we normally wouldn't justify spending so much money at. Jo had suggested a Tunisian restaurant in Highett called Saha, which her employees husband runs so we would get good service. So Jo, Kin, Paul, Phuong and myself went there on Friday for a meal.
The interior of Saha is very nice. It had lot of great decorations around the room. The room itself was this very high ceilinged room with wooden floor boards, rendered walls and sparsely laid tables. It definitely had the right feel to it.
I wasn't really expecting a present, but I did get one. And what present would to give to me, well food related of course, chocolate to be precise. Jo had gone and got me a smaller version of the Patchi Chocolate Tower from the Melbourne Wicked Sunday Coffee and Chocolate festival, knowing how I love Patchi Chocolates and think they are the best. The chocolate tower looks so nice, I don't think I will eat it for a week or two.
For entrees we got the Bread with Three Dips. The bread was deliciously crunchy and the dips were great too. I really liked the spicy salsa and the tahini. I don't like olives so didn't find the olive and anchovy dip that nice.
The Filo Pastry Parcels were awesome. The stuffing of spiced prawns, shallots and parsley wored very well.
I'm not a huge fan of cheeses, but these Cheese Parcels with three different cheeses and a tomato based napoli type sauce were extremely smooth and such an interesting blend of flavours.
As usual, we each picked a mains and then shared them, meaning we could try as many things and expand our taste horizons. Jo picked the day's special which was a Cod Fillet with Fennel. Something strange is happening to me lately, since I'm finding that I actually enjoy a lot of the fish dishes. This dish was done really well with the fish firm and full of spicy flavours.
Phoung and I both picked the other days special, the Goat Tagine. The goat was cooked till it was very soft and falling off the bone. It was quite good, not as nice as at Pireaus Blue in Brunswick, but good nonetheless. The peas and artichoke provided a nice sweet contrast to the meat.
Kin chose the Saha Roast Beef. The beef was cooked till it was so beautifully soft, but still maintaining its juicy-ness. It had some spicy flavours to it, like pepper but slightly different. The potato mash was so smooth and creamy that I could feel all the butter going to my waistline but it was worth it.
Finally, Paul got the Veal with Couscous. This was also a great dish, with the veal again being nice and tender. The sauce was my favourite of all the dishes.
Desserts sounded so good on the menu that I had very high expectations. Some of the dishes lived up to it, but others weren't so good. The Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Base was good. The mousse was ok but too sweet and a bit too soft. When eaten with the coconut base though, it was much better.
The creme brulee was good as well, but again probably too soft for my liking. The figs at the bottom of it was a nice surprise.
The best dessert by far was the Ice Cream with Halva, Pistachios and Turkish Delights. What a mouthful of interesting and delicious flavours. We all kept going back for more and finished that one off very quickly.
The most disappointing dessert was the Parfait with Berry Coulis. I was expecting a French type parfait but instead get an American version of a parfait, which was just basically vanilla ice cream with some wafers.
The service was very good. We were seated and our wine opened and poured for us. Menus were given immediately, with specials explained clearly. Food arrived altogether and we were given time to eat and plates were removed once it was clear that we were finished. The one small annoyance was that the waiter, and owner, who was great all night, came back from a smoke break and immediately served our table. He then proceeded to blow a huge mouthful of smoke at me, and the smell was so strong. His cigarettes must have been very strong ones.
Overall Rating: 14/20, Great interior and service. The food was good with a few great dishes.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.