Ten Kilos Heavier

but still hungry as ever

SOUQ Kitchen & Bar

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SOUQ Kitchen & Bar
194 Commercial Road, Toorak
03 9510 3654

After a week of work and uni, my brain was absolutely fried. So I was pleasantly surprised when my friend happily took the executive decision making out of my hands this time around. How we ended up at this gem of a restaurant was literally random luck — he had imported my list of 50 ‘To Try’ restaurants into Excel and created a random generator spreadsheet. All you had to do was press one button. So thank you, ‘F9’.

SOUQ is a relatively new restaurant on Commercial Road, opened some time in the second half of 2009. The same strip is also home to the second Hutong Dumpling Bar (which is supposedly an institution), which I was tempted to walk into instead of SOUQ. Reason? It was 7.30pm and SOUQ was empty, whilst Hutong was bustling. Maybe it is just me, but I get a little awkward walking into an empty restaurant. It makes me feel like I am making the biggest mistake of my life being there.

Lucky we did nothing of that sort! F9 had spoken, and must be obeyed

SOUQ is a fusion between Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African food. The place was decked out with Morrocan style furnishings, very warm, earthy and comfortable. The waitress was very helpful and made me a pretty decent lychee mocktail — yes, non alcoholic drinks is how I roll.

Lychee mocktail (not on the menu)

Tapas

We started off with two plates of tapas. The left you have cinnamon and baharat braised beef cheeks served with hommus and tabouli. On the right is the crispy sumac spiced calamari, served with saffron & cumin aioli. Both superb and cooked to perfection, especially the beef cheek/hommus/tabouli combination (I can say that the beef cheeks here can give MoVida’s version a run for its money). The calamari was crispy on the outside, tender and chewable on the inside.

Eye of Lamb Loin

Berbere spiced spatchcock chicken with warm green beans, puy lentils, cumin yoghurt, honey & pomegranate dressing

For mains, we had the lamb loin and chicken. I just love the flavours of the spices they use in their dishes! Again, the dishes were perfection. I can still taste that first piece of chicken I put into my mouth. Tender and unbelievably JUICY — to the point where I didn’t even need water to wash it down!! I was seriously savouring every mouthful, it was like a party in my mouth! And I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never raved on about chicken before. I am also led to believe the lamb loin was equally as tasty, because he didn’t offer any to me. LOL!

Baklava cigar with chai & mastic ice cream

I had wanted to try the Chai and Date Tart, but apparently we were told they had sold out of it already. 0_O Eh What?!?! Probably a good time to mention that throughout our entire 2 hours there, the restaurant did not fill up. A pair came in to ask for directions, and another pair came in for like a half an hour coffee. In the end, I opted for baklava — Now I have a sweet tooth but baklava is just WAY too sweet for me. However, the chai and mastic ice cream was delicious!

The food is good here and at decent prices….so perhaps they are busier on the weekends.

Souq Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Written by J.L

7 March, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Posted in $$, Inner City

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