Coburg, VIC 3058
I’m not quite sure what Arabic cuisine is like. In fact, I didn’t even know that Al Alamy was Arabic until I went and did some research. Meaning ‘world of foods’, Al Alamy is true to its name; a cross between a vast playground of exotic groceries and an ethnic bakery/cafe, it’s enough to make any foodie’s eyes glaze over.
|Zaatar Pizza ($1.5)|
For just the change you find under your couch cushions, you can grab a Zaatar Pizza ($1.5). A soft doughy base is brushed with olive oil, rubbed with 11 secret herbs and spices and scattered with sesame before being folded in half and slotted into the oven with its siblings. The result is a beautifully pungent pizza with the fragrance and crunch of sesame. I imagine it would taste even better coated in the homemade dips ($5) they have on offer.
|Cheese Calzone Pie ($2.5)|
The Cheese Calzone Pie ($2.5) is a soft bread cave filled with stalactites of squeaky salty cheese. It’s perfect for those of you who want a variation on your standard cheese toastie.
|Foull Meddames Plate ($7)|
You’ll find a feast in the Foull Meddames Plate ($7), with a terracotta bowl filled with mix of slow cooked fava beans and chick peas, seasoned with garlic, onions, olive oil, and a touch of lemon. On the side is a plate full of crispy pickles, olives, and a whole tomato, and a basket with two soft rounds of pita bread big enough to swaddle a baby. The beans were slightly tart and very creamy, making for a fabulous dip or even just eating on its own with a spoon.
|Delicious Delicious Morsel|
And I love the lack of cutlery, which meant that we were able to scoop up some of the beans in a piece of pita and add some pickles to make one perfect mouthful. Food definitely tastes better when eaten with your hands.
Even though I was stuffed to the brim, I couldn’t turn down a complimentary piece of baklava. Beautifully flaky and buttery, the outside shell crumbled between my teeth, and I found the nutty and not-too-sweet innards practically dissolving in my mouth. And because Chris (whose hairy arm makes another apperance) didn’t like Middle Eastern sweets, I could have this little morsel of heaven all to myself!
After we’ve eaten all we could eat, we took a stroll through the grocery section of Al Alamy. There you will find piles of roasted nuts, baskets full of middle eastern sweets, baklava still sitting on the paper it was baked on, and rows upon rows of loose ingredients you can buy for a fraction of the price in supermarkets (not to mention the mind-boggling variety).
It was difficult not to buy some of everything to take home with me, but if that’s an excuse to come back, then I don’t mind at all.
Rating: 14.5/20 – amazing value