THE Old Bakery on Eighth Avenue has been given a make-over as Lebanese eatery Rotana. A mate and I dropped in recently to check it out.
The decor is fresh and modern, with plenty of jarrah, and lovely wrought-iron balustrading separating the street from a pleasant alfresco area, where plenty of flowering pot plants add a splash of colour.
We kicked off sharing lady fingers ($13.99) and a plate of haloumi ($9.99).
The fingers had the shape and texture of a spring rolls, light and delicate morsels of spinach and fetta, that were amazingly fresh.
I love the way a good haloumi squeaks when chewed and this was spot on, perfectly cooked, and pleasantly salty, and the house-prepared olives on the side were terrific.
My mate’s on a mission to top up her iron and went all-flesh, with the mixed grill plate ($23.99)—generous skewers of lamb kofta, chicken and beef soon arrived.
The chicken was deliciously charred, yet moist, the beef tasty and tender and the kofta pleasantly spicy.
Tabouleh was the perfect accompaniment to all the meat, she reckoned, and she was in seventh heaven with the trio of dips on the side.
“It’s like being in Lebanon, without the bombs,” she quipped through a mouthful.
The serves are so generous at Rotana, she took home enough for her evening meal.
I ordered samaki hara (Lebanese chili fish, $23.99), pieces of barramundi in a spicy sauce, topped with pine nuts and served with rice and pieces of fried flat bread.
The rich, orange sauce was a bit overpowering but nevertheless failed to disguise the robust barramundi.
Unfortunately the baklava and semolina cake ($3) were overly sweet and a tad dry, but washed down with a couple of good coffees we staggered homewards, clutching take-away containers, our tummies groaning.
This is a great location to meet friends for a coffee or a meal any time of the day.
by JENNY D’ANGER
42 Eighth Avenue, Maylands
open 7 days 6am–10pm