Rated as one of the Top 5 Cheap Eats in The Advertiser in 2017, Al Mina on Prospect offers a wide range of Mediterranean food and pastries. The bread used in the dishes is freshly made on order, which makes them taste better than similar dishes served at other cafes.
While it is listed as an entree, their Lebanese Sausages can be shared with a friend. The beef and lamb sausages used in the dish were not too tough and had a delectable spiced flavour from the spices used in them. The earthy taste of the hummus and the fresh salad did a good job of balancing the rich taste of the sausages. The pita bread accompanying them can be used to make the dish a bit like a mini wrap.
Lebanese Sausages (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The name Zaatar refers to a spice mix in Middle Eastern cuisine that includes sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, thyme and coriander. The bread that forms a key part of the dish was warm and slightly crisp and the Zaatar mix complemented its plain taste nicely. It can be a bit salty for some tastes though.
Zaatar (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Taking their name from Zaatar and focaccia, Al Mina's Zoccacias feature Zaatar bread filled with a variety of fillings. We liked that the falafel in their Falafel Zoccacia was quite moist as some restaurants make them a bit too dry. The mixture of Spanish onion, tomatoes and iceberg lettuce also did a good job of complementing its earthy flavour.
Falafel Zoccacia (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For a Zoccacia that is a bit more filling, you could consider choosing the Sumac Chicken Zoccacia. The chicken was cooked just right and the sumac it was marinated in gave it a distinctive flavour. The roasted capsicum provided a bit of sweetness and the Dijon ranch dressing added a creamy flavour that was not too strong.
Sumac Chicken Zoccacia (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
A good choice for vegetarians, the grilled eggplant in their Eggplant Zoccacia had the right amount of bite to them. The dish had a bit of a sour element from what tasted like balsamic vinegar. To balance out the sour taste, the Zoccacia had roasted capsicum and sun-dried tomatoes to provide some sweetness. The hummus tied everything together nicely.
Eggplant Zoccacia (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
If you prefer something a bit more "normal", Al Mina also offers a selection of wraps. We liked that the Lamb Wrap we chose had a generous amount of filling and the "lamby" taste of the lamb was not too strong. For those who want a wrap that is a bit more filling, there is also an AB Wrap which substitutes the tabouli, hummus and tahini with chips.
Lamb Wrap (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Their Chicken Salad had a generous quantity of chicken, which was of the same quality as that used in their Sumac Chicken Zoccacia. There was also enough Mezzanine salad to make eating the dish an enjoyable experience and the combination of Dijon dressing and balsamic vinaigrette helped to enhance the flavour of the ingredients.
Chicken Salad (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
To complete your meal, you can choose from a variety of desserts and pastries. Their Mafroukeh is one of the unique choices available, consisting of semolina cooked with rosewater and topped with clotted cream and toasted nuts. The texture of the semolina was not too thick and the degree of sweetness was just right. The clotted cream helped to cut through the rich flavour and the nuts contrasted well with the soft semolina.
Mafroukeh (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Another of their unique offering is Kataifi, a pastry made with shredded phyllo dough of the same name, and filled with a filling similar to that used in Baklava. The pastry provided a delightful crunchy element and gave the pastry an appearance best described as being similar to a bird's nest. Some of the other pastries available are Orange Syrup Cake and Basbousa, a semolina cake soaked in syrup. Be aware that they can be a bit too sweet for those not used to Middle Eastern desserts.
Kataifi (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Orange Syrup Cake (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Basbousa (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
One of the pastries that are more along the lines of what most Westerners are used to, the Profiterole Cup is a bit like a deconstructed Eclair, with a rich chocolatey ganache covering a profiterole topped with some whipped cream. A selection of cookies is also available if you feel you do not have the appetite for their pastries.
Profiterole Cup (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Cookie Selection (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The decor of the cafe gave it a cosy and casual feel. A decent amount of parking is available on the streets close to the cafe.
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