A restauranteur who opens under a name meaning ‘King’ has got some guts. If Urban Dictionary is anything to go by you can add clever, laid back and good looking. Let’s just say an all-rounder. Take a look inside the NoHo restaurant ‘Malik’ and you’ll find that might just be what owner, Ali Assi, is going for.

We’re more than partial to Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food, so it made sense that the Lovely Deputy and This Girl made it the destination for our recent anniversary dinner.

While the food of their sister restaurant in Salamanca is equally as enticing, it’s the NoHo venue which takes the dining experience to the next level.

The restaurant is intense and brooding, intimate and dimly-lit, it’s pitched towards the higher end of the market. A design featuring charcoal, timber, forest green and a mural of a lion’s head (think back to the King) mark out the territory. It is intimate and welcoming, where all guests are special guests.

Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean food is characterised by the vibrant ingredients of warmer environs – eggplant, peppers, okra, olives and pomegranate and flavours like sesame, honey, sumac, cinnamon, cumin and cloves. Legumes like fava beans and chickpeas have as high a profile as meat, poultry and seafood. Hard white cheeses and yoghurt abound.

The cuisine incorporates a large land mass, diverse cultures and rich histories that have resulted in the same breadth, diversity and richness in the food on offer. Meals are typically prepared as a selection of plates or mezze. It’s delicious and encourages shared eating focused on family and friends.

Malik is a date night restaurant although an elegant table with a small group of friends would fit in just as comfortably. The menu is both delightfully simply and spoilt for choice and it definitely encourages sharing.

There are oysters and kebbe done two ways and small plates which work as entrees or sides and there are the sides you would expect – potatoes and salads. The larger plates cover the essentials: lamb, beef, chicken, fish and cauliflower. There is a choice of three desserts to finish things off. Can’t choose? They’ll feed you for $55 per person for 4 plates.

What we ate:

  • Fried cauliflower, tahini, hazelnut dukkah, $16.50
  • Spiced baby carrot, baba ganoush, pomegranate, $16.50
  • Ras el hanout spiced chicken, herb pilaf, $34
  • Potatoes, spiced butter, $13.50
  • Fresh tomato, haloumi, basil, $15.50
  • Vanilla cheesecake, almond, cherry compote, honeycomb, $16

The kebbe is a good choice for appetiser with your pre-dinner drink before you get too serious about your meal. There are two varieties – pumpkin, chickpea and spinach, or lamb and pinenut, $4.50 each. On this occasion they were all out of lamb kebbe so we cut our losses and went for the delectably roasted baby carrots served with a delicate crunch to their leafy greens. The cauliflower was served as baby florets crispy, tangy and salty and we shared this plate and the carrots as our starters.

The chicken was spicy and succulent, with a yoghurt dressing through the pilaf. Baby potatoes were roasted in a spiced butter glaze. The tomatoes were a combination of sliced heirloom and halved grape and cherry varieties. In place of the ubiquitous fried cheese, this fruit was topped with spirals of haloumi, think savoury Persian fairy floss, a tradition common in Lebanon and a treat to our table.

The deconstructed dessert involved three pipped domes of cheesecake sitting in compote and topped with homemade honeycomb, a perfect balance of creamy, tart, sweet and crunch.

We drank Poltergeist gin and tonic and tried their new way of delivering wine by the glass. You can choose from a sparkling, white or red and Ali is erring on the side of blended varieties with the intent of getting you out of your comfort zone and trying something new. On our visit the wines by the glass were Velvet and Willow Pinot Chardonnay Sparkling, Delinquente Vermentino and Waterton Hall Tasmanian Shiraz. Ali brought over a wine sold by the bottle so we could try a few sneaky glasses of a more buttery number, the Revolution Attack Gruner Veltliner. As Chardonnay drinkers, this was our top pick.

Malik is a lovely restaurant with very attentive service and wonderful food. It’s definitely worth a visit particularly for a special night like ours.

Find out more via their website – Malik

The restaurant is located at 277 Elizabeth Street Hobart.

Book on line or call them on 03 6236 9056.

They also have a restaurant in Salamanca Square – Syra 

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