2/774 High Street, Thornbury (map)
Open Wed-Sun from 5:30pm
When my friend Matt and I learned through Twitter that Rumi's Joseph Abboud was about to open a second restaurant, specialising in so-called inauthentic pizza made by "two Arabs who love pizza and Middle Eastern flavours", we made a pact that we'd visit as soon as possible, given our shared love of Rumi (Matt even brought his food blog out of retirement to write about it last year). So shortly after The Moor's Head opened about four weeks ago, we hiked up to Thornbury one Friday night with two friends to check it out.
The warehouse interior is all high ceilings, black booths and noirish film posters. It's chic while still being very low-key. We ordered a combination of round pizzas (manoushé) and boat-shaped pidé, along with a jug of one of Thornbury's own microbrews, the 3 Ravens Pale Ale. The drinks menu also includes the arak of the day, a handful or wines and short black tea served from The Moor's Head samovar.
I'm going to keep this brief - let's just say that all the food was brilliant. Simple, pure flavours, smart combinations, great dough, reasonable prices. Go there, now.
We started with some pickled vegetables and olives ($8) and some wonderfully fresh cucumber and salt (also $8). The first manoushé we tried was the Oum Kalthoum ($16.50) which comes with tomato, black chilli, oregano and ashawan (a semi hard sheep milk cheese, our menu helpfully informed us). Possibly my favourite.
The Saladin manoushé ($16.50) comes with za'atar, red pepper paste, parsley, mint, walnuts, cumin and rocket. Also pictured is a chickpea side salad with parsley, tahini yoghurt and almonds ($8.50).
The two pidés we had were The Golden Terrace ($18) with minced beef, fresh tomato, chilli, almonds and lemon, and the Shams of Tabriz ($17.50) with tomato, eggplant, feta, pine nuts and fresh parsley. I'd commented to Matt in a tweet that I didn't know what the Shams of Tabriz were but that I was pretty sure I wanted them - turns out Shams of Tabriz was a person (the spiritual instructor of Rumi). Both of these also extremely good, though I'd have to say The Golden Terrace had the edge.
For dessert, the menu lists three types of sweet fatayer. We chose the one filled with ricotta and honey, The Jamil ($9). If one of our party hadn't been averse to banana I would've loved to try the banana and halva combination.
Be sure to have some of the excellent rose and almond Turkish delight ($6) - it comes from Pantheon Confectionery in Yarraville, and it's the same one served at Rumi.
Oh, and everything on the menu can be ordered take away. Well worth the trip oop north to Thornbury!