An exciting new Middle Eastern addition has made its way to one of Melbourne’s laneways. Ergun Elmas and Vlad Kovacevic have teamed up to open Souk, a sharing-style restaurant that’s dishing up the flavours of North Africa, Arabia and Anatolia.
Helping the boys to embrace Ergun’s Turkish background is Mexican-born chef Rogelio Almanza. Having lived and worked in Mexico, Japan and the US for the past ten years, Rogelio was looking to challenge himself with a new cuisine and a new city. Together with Ergun and Vlad, Rogelio has designed a menu reminiscent of the classic sharing style of Middle Eastern cuisine, with some unique touches mixed in for good measure.
At Souk, diners begin their meal with a selection of small plates, including prawn falafels served on smoked black tahini with coriander mayonnaise and tomato oil, and ras el hanout-crumbed chicken ribs with sweet cucumber and harissa toum. Moving into the more substantial medium plates, Rogelio’s team in the kitchen whips up delicious plates like Turkish meatballs and charcoal octopus, as well as having a selection of Arabian ‘tacos’ –think mini shwarma pita cones.
To wash down all of those punchy plates, the bar concocts creative Arabian-inspired cocktails late into the evening. Unlike many of the packed institutions of Melbourne’s laneways, Souk diners are encouraged to take their time and have a few extra drinks after dinner. With a 2am liquor license Thursday to Saturday, you’ll have all the time in the world. Sit back, relax and order a couple of Aladdin’s Mistresses – Moroccan green iced tea, crushed cardamom pods, white rum and dark rum, all shaken with mint. However, if that doesn’t speak to you, Souk also has a creative wine list featuring a collection of Australian, European and Middle Eastern wines.
Located on Bligh Place, just off Flinders Lane, Souk’s floor plan is separated into two main areas. Downstairs you’ll find the bar pouring fun and exciting cocktails all night, while the dining room resides upstairs. Both levels were designed by Tom Adair and Robyn Levin under the Mcarb name, bringing an eclectic Middle Eastern style to the venue.
With a touch of the Middle East in an iconic Melbourne setting, Souk is looking to be one of 2017’s most exciting new restaurants.