Tiba’s Lebanese Food
504 Sydney Rd
Brunswick, VIC 3056
03 9380 8425
Ees, Little Death and I agreed to catch-up over lunch one Sunday. I decided to veer away from Melbourne’s ubiquitously vibrant brunch scene and have us try something different for a change.
After a bit of querying, I settled on Middle Eastern fare at a place in Brunswick frequented by Arabs. Nothing like discovering food that locals would go for!
We stepped into the quiet eatery and started to peruse the menu. On this front, I was very glad that Little Death was with us. He’s more familiar with Lebanese fare than Ees or myself. We gave him full reign with the ordering.
Homos (chickpea, tahini, garlic & lemon juice) Lge 6.60
Tabouli (chopped parsley, tomato, onion, wheat, olive oil & lemon juice) Lge 6.60
So began our Middle Eastern discovery… which I found out comprised of dishes that I’m actually familiar with (albeit spelt differently). Starting with hummus, tabouleh, baba ganoush…
Chicken Shawarma (sliced marinated chicken off the pit) Lge 9.90
Babaganooj (char-smoked eggplant, vinegar yogurt, garlic, tahini & lemon juice) Lge 6.60
Chickpea Salad (chickpeas, chopped tomato, parsley & lemon juice) Lge 6.60
… a bit of chickpea salad, and marinated chicken schwarma… all supported with a massive basket of flatbreads. It looked like ingredients to make a healthy wrap!
Shish Kebab (marinated diced lamb fillet on the skewer) 2.80ea
Shish Kafta (minced lamb with mixed herbs, parsley, onion & capsicum) 2.80ea
Lebanese Sausage (small lamb sausage with herbs & spices) 1.20ea
Lamb Cutlets 3.80ea
But let’s not forget the rather delightful selection of meats straight from the grill. That’s when the hidden carnivores within us took over. The lamb cutlets and kebabs were particularly toothsome, with good charring and succulent insides. The lebanese sausages, however, were too dry and salty for us.
As for how to eat it… anything goes! We tore and dipped with the breads, unskewered the kebabs onto our plates, and used the knives and forks too. It was quite random, tasty, and fun.
And it was only halfway through the meal I learnt that (as demonstrated by Little Death) each flat bread could be opened up to create a ‘pocket’ to pile food in!
In the end, I thought we did pretty good work for such a large amount of food. It’s funny how this photo illustrates the food items that we unanimously avoided eating… them pungent onions, salty sausages, and the filling chickpeas.
Baclawa Serve (mixed 5 pieces of different Lebanese sweets) 6.00
We ended with a rather ordinary serve of Lebanese sweets (the baklava wasn’t fresh). But at $25 per person for such a filling meal, I’m not complaining.
I feel almost inclined to say that Tiba’s is like the Rose Garden of the Middle Eastern food world. With Rose Garden, Asians flock there because it’s cheap and comforting, while those who are less familiar with Malaysian/Chinese food will probably prefer somewhere fancier with modernised flavours. And so with Tiba’s, the locals go there, while my Melbournised palate will probably want something more along the lines of Rumi or Bayte.