Sunday, October 18, 2009


210 Balaclava Rd
Caulfield North 3161, Victoria
Ph: (03) 9509 8959

Almazett is a Lebanese restaurant located out in the 'burbs. Like many other Lebanese restaurants, it's almost a stereotype of itself. Not that it's particularly bad, but it's not particularly good or memorable either. They all meld into this oneness. Let me continue and get back to this issue at the end.

The restaurant itself has a really comforting feel. I liked the clean feel of the place, with everything still looking new rather than old like many other Lebanese restaurants.

The menu had all the usual culprits there, and as usual, we go for the banquet as it seems to be the best value for money. Even the waiter was pushing us that way, probably since it'll be easy for them to cook exactly the same dishes. The dips and salad was surpringsly bad. Usually, the dips are amazingly good, but these ones lacked flavour and were too sour.

The falafel was quite good, but the highlight of the whole night were a couple of entrees of meats and cheese wrapped in filo pastry. These were so delicious and I would eat them until full.

The mains consisted of chicken wings, sausages, kebabs, beans and rice. All were ok but didn't really stand out.

For desserts, we got the usual Mahalabieh, Baklava and Turkish Delight. To my delight, the mahalabieh was better than usual, but still not something I would order. To my further delight, the baklava was actually good, as was the Turkish Delight.

Service was good, and our waiter was accomadating to our constant request for water. For some unknown reason, we were a thirsty bunch.

To the issue of stereotyping of restaurants, it's a shame that most restaurants feel like they need to do exactly the same as other restaurants doing that cuisine. It becomes really boring and bland. At Almazett, they don't do it any worse, but neither do they do it any better. Elements are better, but not all elements. Nothing sets them apart, except maybe the location depending on where you live. Are diners expecting the same of these places or do they do it simply because it's safe and easy. I'm not sure what the answer is, but when you have the same belly dancer doing the rounds of the Lebanese restaurants in Melbourne, I think that isn't a good thing. Surely, the chefs all have some recipes that is unique to them that they could share with us and therefore have a point of difference?

To end, here is Daniel and Jordan looking like a boy band just for laughs. We also ran an experiment that I suggested, that holding your car remote to your head and using your head as an antennae would strengthen the signal. Obviously, the experiment wasn't fully controlled, but I maintain that initial results show that using your head as an amplifier does seem plausible. Go and try it the next time you're outside a Lebanese restaurant.

Overall Rating: 13/20, Good value for money, with food and service ok.

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.

Almazett on Urbanspoon

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