I am foodie as well as a tech head who loves to talk about the greater aspects of all things that should be public. I am more about the good than the bad and ugly and I thought it was time to go public with what I deem to be sensational.
Published December 20th 2013
The most sensational restaurant in Melbourne.
Why sensational? Not only because Lezzet is the best Turkish restaurant in Melbourne, it is also my top "sensational" restaurant; sensational because it pleases all the senses.
First and foremost the sweet smell of soft spices and eye appealing cuisine matches the décor and the atmosphere.
Kemal, the owner and head chef, is incredibly talented and looks to be in his 20's, which is what is most remarkable; he has an inspiring passion for food and it shows in every way.
Turkish food typically in Melbourne is very poorly represented, it is usually done by the average Joe, let's call him Mehmet.
Mehmet knows how to light a BBQ, so he opens up a kebab shop and puts on a show,. This would be like the average Joe in Australia, lets call him Aaron. Aaron moving to Turkey and opening up an Aussie BBQ shop and putting on a sausage sizzle.
So let's remove Kemal far away from this first, and point out that he is an actual chef. His food is a fusion of the Ottoman palaces cuisine, some franco/italian gastronomy and central Anatolian cooking. This is not to be confused with the traditional peasant Turkish cuisine which on its own is very heart warming and tummy filling. However the angle here is that you are the sultan and Kemal and his crew is here to serve you.
The dishes are not quite like I have seen anywhere.
I started, with some nice fresh calamari, an incredible kofte, meatballs slow cooked in dates and wrapped in Bulgar, and some exquisite prawn wrapped in kadayif, which is like angel hair noodles. Let's not forget the aioli with coconut and the zucchini fritter balls. Then there was the crab manti.
Manti is at best described like the fusion of ravioli and dumplings, in its essence. Turkey being in the centre of the earth has merged this Chinese/Italian (best description) dish into its own unique food, often served with yoghurt and a tomato based sauce it is a must try.
Now Lezzet has gone to the next level and makes this with crab – yes crab manti! with some type of a cream sauce with melted butter – sensational. Do not leave without trying this.
This was all polished down with Raki, which smells like Galliano but tastes like liquorice mixed with Vodka. It compliments Turkish food well, it is more of a meze-tapas style drink and is a great way to wine and dine. For those who may find this too hard core, stick to the wine.
The next shocking dish for me was the grape vine leaf dolma, wrapped around salmon. Yes, here we have grape vine leaves which our slightly sour, combined with salmon; what a perfect match. Really surprised to find this dish work so well.
I then had skewered lamb shish kebabs which were lightly cooked and super juicy and delicious. My companion, who was by now so full, was just squirming to find more room to squeeze this in.
Kemal was trying to convince me to try some slow cooked ottoman lamb and a fusion date salad, regretfully I declined. I had simply ran out of space. I wish I never had tried his freshly made bread at the start.
Dessert was a Turkish fairy floss with Turkish delight, ice cream and cream mix. Wow, was this thing impressive. I do not even know what to call this.
I tried after 2 hours of hard pressed eating to get out of this place as all the seams in my clothing were being pushed to the limit.
The bill came and I was very surprised to see how low it was for such high quality food. Lezzet's pricing, I believe for the type of restaurant it is, is actually very reasonable.
This is a great place to take that special someone, the family or just to go out with some friends or colleagues. Sensational, atmosphere, service and food.