Brisbane’s best Middle Eastern restaurants | Gourmand and Gourmet

Brisbane’s best Middle Eastern restaurants

  • Food & Booze
Vibrant, full of flavoursome spices and offering plenty of excuses to dream of what your three wishes would be if you ever found a magic lamp (uh, number one, being able to eat anything without our waistline gaining a centimetre, thank you), Middle Eastern fare is as exotic as they come. After all, there’s nothing like a spread of mezze to make you feel like you’re half a world away, especially seated against a backdrop of colourful rugs that look they could take you on a carpet ride. Lucky for you, we’ve eaten our way through the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Brisbane, so you can hop on your camel (read: get in an Uber – there’s cocktails to drink after all) and go try them all. Mecca Bah | Fortitude Valley Step through the doors of Mecca Bah and you’ll feel like you just walked into an Arabian palace, with funky décor and plush booths for your whole tribe. But even Aladdin’s Genie couldn’t have conjured up feeds like these, with scrumptious Middle Eastern inspired pizzas filled with toppings like spit-roasted lamb and haloumi, drool-worthy share plate like sweet potato felafels and flaky lamb pastries, and a cocktail list that will leave you wishing you had 1001 nights to enjoy it. Gerard’s Bistro | Fortitude Valley Walnut milk, green strawberries and smoked egg yolk may not sound like your typical Middle Eastern menu ingredients, but Gerard’s Bistro will make you wonder how you ever went without them. And should you still somehow be hungry after a feast of whole smoked eggplant, coal-grilled octopus and fried cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate, the answer is yes: that is indeed a charred eggplant sorbet on the dessert menu. Let curiosity get the best of you. Byblos | Hamilton Ready for a challenge even Jafar would quake at? Byblos’ mixed grill is heaped with mounds of hummus, tabouleh, grilled veggies, garlic sauce, bread and grilled meat skewers. It will all go down easier with one of their creative cocktails, especially if you find yourself a spot out by the river views. And finish it with a platter of their traditional Lebanese sweets of course. middle eastern restaurants brisbane ahmets Ahmet’s | South Bank There’s only one way to really take advantage of Ahmet’s exotic menu: a banquet fit for a king. With lamb and bulgur kofte, lamb pide, char-grilled chicken and beef skewers and a dessert tasting plate loaded with baklava, Turkish delight and coconut cake, it will get you a little taste of all their favourites. Or you know, you could just eat yourself silly on lamb dumplings and spinach and cheese pastry. Efes One | Albion One Istanbul getaway, no plane fares. Efes One is the must-try spot for any Turkish food enthusiasts (and if that doesn’t include you, you may want to rethink your goals in life). Whether belly dancing has you ducking under the table to avoid being spotted, or up and grooving with your tummy out, the night promises to be a good one. Try not to feel too torn over your menu choice: return trips are recommended to truly experience the wide range of grills, pides, and kebabs. Pilpel by the Sea | Redcliffe Who needs the Spanish coast, anyway? You couldn’t ask for views prettier than those this waterfront tapas spot (and, let’s face it, Redcliffe makes for a slightly easier commute). Enjoy a shared lunch on the northern coast with excessive consumption of dishes like their slow-cooked chorizo, calamari and tiger prawns. Oh, and there’s nothing quite like waking up to a waterfront meal of Middle Eastern style eggs benedict and pancakes with rose water minted yoghurt. Caravanserai | West End Ok, you might not be able to honour this “camel stop on the ancient silk road” with the traditional transportation method, but camel-free cars have officially been given the A-OK by Caravanserai. Sorry to break it to anyone who planned to stop by for a light meal, but you officially don’t stand a chance. Say hello to your new friend, the banquet menu. Thank us after you’re finished feasted on haloumi, chorizo, hummus, chicken shish, and braised lamb shanks. Al Sahara | Slack’s Creek South siders, don’t ever say we left you with unnecessary falafel cravings! Slack’s Creek is alive with plenty of fan-favourite Middle Eastern dishes – and a few left fielders. Say hello to Brisbane’s own camel burger and camel kebab wrap. Go on, you know you want to. For the less daring, don’t worry – you’re still welcome to feast on charcoal chicken, lamb stew, and kebabs of the strictly no-hump design. With so many choices, we have a feeling picking where to eat will be a tahini bit difficult. Words by Samantha Chariton