While the Age Good Food Guide gave it one-hat, and it had been recommended by countless locals, I had yet to experience Maha.
Sitting in the chic laneway restaurant near Flinders Street Station, I settled into the comfortable cushions and admired the Middle Eastern-inspired decor, made up of interesting textures and glass sculptures in colors that danced across the room, illuminated by cabinet lights.
I went a la carte as I was short on time, but the best value is from the set menus. The duck breast with honey and cocoa nib roasted local parsnip, puffed grains and a second plate of walnut crusted beef cheek, with a side of sautéed greens were the meals I chose for the night.
The beef cheek almost melted in your mouth with the sweet onion and lemon giving it a sweet-and-sour quality.
One thing I love about Maha is that the chefs are always innovating the cuisine they serve. Take the "Boat Smugglers Stew"—prawn filled snapper, pork belly, tamarind, saffron, and tomato with nigella seed flat bread—that is said to have been created when Delia met a smuggler on his travels and managed to be invited to his home for a meal.
If you're pressed for time or prefer a lunch option consider their burger and beer lunch option. At $18 it's a steal and the burger flavor changes each month.
All of the menus cater for any dietary problems including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.