A BAR/RESTAURANT 'OF MIDDLE EASTERN APPEARANCE"
TUESDAY TO FRIDAY, 12PM TILL LATE
SATURDAY 5:30PM TILL LATE
Bar Saracen Brings Lesser-Known Middle Eastern Cuisine to Punch Lane
Raw Wagyu kofta and cardamom-spiked coffee from the man behind Rumi and the Moor's Head.
Joseph Abboud (owner of Brunswick's Rumi and the Moor's Head in Thornbury and Carlton) and Ari Vlassopoulos (ex-Pei Modern, Hellenic Republic) found a serendipitous location for their new Lebanese restaurant Bar Saracen: the former site of Rosa's Kitchen, which closed in 2016.
The building is in Punch Lane, possibly the CBD's most tranquil laneway, and it accidentally complements the food. Its sandy terracotta walls and triangular-archway windows aren't too different to some of Lebanon's mosques and churches.
With tongue firmly in cheek, Bar Saracen describes itself as 'a bar/restaurant of Middle Eastern appearance' (the same way criminal suspects are often described by Western media). It aims to show the breadth of the region's cuisines, especially those less familiar to Melburnians.
Yes, there are borek and kofta, but not as you know them. The borek is samosa-sized and filled with prawn, egg and cheese. The Wagyu kofta are raw, like steak tartare with Lebanese spices.
The food here is not home-style like it is at Rumi, although the fish taratoor with fried nuts and pickled grapes is an homage to Abboud's mother's Sunday lunch recipe. 'She would pack little containers of leftovers and it would become a bit like shredded fish, like a rillette, so we're playing on that idea,' he says.
The 18-dish list of mezze takes up 80 per cent of the food menu, and is designed to share. The back table, for a group of 10, has a mini Lazy Susan.
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 2 Punch Lane, Melbourne | Map
✆ (03) 8639 0265
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Bar Saracen
❊ Also See... ❊
→ New In Town | Restaurants
→ Disclaimer: Check with the venue before making plans...
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