The star at Cafe Zum Zum is the food. Like most Middle Eastern meals, Lebanese dishes are made to be eaten communally, so order a bunch of dishes to share or choose the banquet and allow the chef to decide.
The food combines subtle but intense flavours with interesting textures, offering a modern take on traditional Lebanese food. Your favourites are all here, and done so well – stuffed vine leaves, lamb kebabs, tabbouleh, falafel, kibbe and fried haloumi. The mahalabia custard dessert is outstanding. As with many Middle Eastern eateries, vegetarians are welcome and well catered for. Although there is a wine list, Rathdowne Cellar is right across the road, making BYO a popular and recommended option.
Though a little on the austere side, the decor is pure Arabic, with mosaic tiles, Persian rugs and Middle Eastern light fittings. It’s small and noisy, but that just adds to Zum Zum’s considerable charm, and the outdoor seating is popular in summer. Bookings are recommended but takeaway is available if you don’t want to wait for a table.
645 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
(03) 9348 0455