458 - 460 Bridge Rd
Ph: (03) 9429 3402
It seems that with more and more posts, I'm apologising for forgetting the dishes that I ate during that meal. It's not because I'm losing my mind, it's just that they're from so long ago that it all gets a bit fuzzier. So let me first apologise for forgetting what a lot of the dishes were.
This meal at Kanzaman was a good three months ago. Kim Anh had suggested this restaurant as it was good Lebanese food at a decent price.
We turned up to the restaurant to find the weirdest front door entrance. The covering in front of the door is bathed is harsh blue light, like those you find in public toilets in the city to stop druggies shooting up. Anyway, once inside, we were greeted by a warm hostess and warm room. Murals aligned the room and gave it a friendly vibe.
From left, we have Henry, Mai, Visal, Lawrence and Kim Anh. As the photographer, I was missing from the photo. But I'm sure regular readers of this blog have seen me splash enough photos of myself on various posts throughout this blog. I'm not adverse to some vanity.
For entrees, we got a host of dishes. There was Hommos, Baba Ghannouj, Falafel, Lahem Bi Ajeen (lamb mince in filo), Halloumi, Makanek (lamb sausages in photo below) and Fatayer (spincah in pastry in photo below).
Some of the entrees really surprised me and turned out to be my favourite dishes of the night. The dips weren't very good, but the falafel was. It was a tad overcooked on the outside but the inside was still fluffy. The sausages were good but nothing spectacular. However, the two pastries and the fried halloumi was sensational. I could have eaten all three dishes alone for my entire meal.
The dish that most caught my eye was the Sultania, which was lamb eye fillets sauteed in pomegranate mollasses. I was expecting this to be extremely interesting. It turned out the pomegranate mollasses added only a touch of acidity to the dish and not much else. It was nice, but as good as I had expected.
The other mains we got of Lamb and Chicken Kebabs, Lamb Curry and Stuffed Zuchinni were adequate, but lacked some flavour I thought. It was a bit bland for my liking. I thought the meat skewers would really pop with the grilled flavours, but didn't eventuate.
In between mains and desserts, the ubiquitous belly dancer turned up to do her routine. According to one of my friends (I forgot who said it), this belly dancer also dances at a few other Lebanese restaurants around Melbourne. For the record, I like the belly dancers, as long as they don't go on forever. She did two high energy songs and people were really getting into it and clapping along and it was fun. Any more and I think it would have gotten annoying.
Finally, desserts of Baklava, Mahalabi and Turkish Delights were a disappointment. The baklava wasn't goo, the Turkish Delight exceedingly sweet, and the Mahalabia rather bland. The desserts at Lebanese restaurants are like those at Chinese restaurants, totally a stereotype of themselves and boring, boring, boring. It's ok if they do them well, a great fried banana is heavenly, as is a wonderful baklava as I have raved on about in many other posts. But when it's stock standard stuff just brought in, it's disappointing.
The service all night was very good. Our hostess was extremely efficient and food arrived in such quick time that I wonder if it's all pre-prepared. I felt very comfortable in the restaurant and it had a good atmosphere.
Food wise, I would come back, and concentrate my eating on the entrees. Those pastries were divinely flaky and light, married beautifully with the filling. The cost of the meal was quite good, coming in around the $40 each with two bottles of wine.
Overall Rating: 14/20, I would go back as some of the entrees were a highlight.
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.