Med is the newest restaurant in the Barton DOMA hotels precinct. They’re serving up Eastern Mediterranean dishes inspired by the flavours of Turkish grills, Greek islands and Lebanese meze.
The restaurant interior is a thousand miles away from the previous Lilotang decor. Med is all warm, natural tones, with walls that have been artfully finished to appear rustic with woven wall hangings. A feature wall of terracotta urns catches the eye, and timber beams accent the ceiling.
The menu is best served shared, but luckily, I’ve brought a colleague with me. We decide to have the lunchtime banquet to save us the trouble of choosing. There is also a vegetarian banquet option, so we have one of each.
My colleague tries a spiced cocktail that reminds her of eggnog – appropriately festive! – and I enjoy a refreshing hibiscus iced tea. There’s a mix of local and international wines and beers on the menu: some of the drinks will be familiar to anyone who has travelled in the Eastern Mediterranean region, like the classic Egyptian Stella Lager (not to be confused with Stella Artois) and red wine from Lebanon’s Bekaa valley.
Hummus is one of the best-known exports from this region and not something I’d ordinarily get excited about at a restaurant. But the hummus at Med is outrageously delicious, dare I say, even better than some I’ve had in my travels in the Levant! It’s served with a generous drizzle of olive oil and dusted with smokey dried chilli flakes. It’s tempting to fill up on the soft, herby bread, but we try to control ourselves in anticipation of more dishes.
The hummus is also served with a plate of mixed pickles and falafel served on herb tahini. The pickles are nice but milder than the intense Lebanese pickles I anticipated. The falafel is perfectly crisp on the outside and properly soft in the middle, with a deep green colour from the addition of herbs to the mix. I’d happily eat a whole lot of these falafels in a wrap and call it a day, but there’s more food to come.
Here, the vegetarian and regular lunch banquets diverge. I enjoy a juicy lamb kofte with super garlicky toum sauce and crunchy sumac onions. My colleague has a cheese and spinach borek with tzatziki: it’s very cheesy and quite salty but works well with the freshness of the tzatziki.
We share the main parts of the meal: charcoal grilled chicken with Turkish peppers and a generous half cauliflower, which is spiced, roasted and served with preserved lemon and yoghurt. The chicken has a slightly sticky glaze and it is cooked to perfection: it’s well-charred but not dry and the peppers add a delicious smoky sweetness. The cauliflower is also tender and delicious.
The charcoal dishes are accompanied by mujadara (rice and lentil salad) and a shepherd’s salad. The mujadara is super comforting and delicious, but the shepherd’s salad is a bit underwhelming: it’s the kind of dish that will shine in the right seasonal conditions, but tomatoes aren’t quite at their best just yet.
In the generous tradition of Turkish banquets, there is more food than we can eat, so we decided to leave room for dessert and pack the leftovers to return to the office.
During our meal, we are served by gregarious general manager Maria and a few new recruits who are still learning the ropes but doing a fine job.
The baklava ice cream sundae is superb. Middle Eastern desserts are typically extremely sugary, and I often struggle with the dripping sweetness of baklava. But this dessert dials back the sweetness and allows the nutty flavours to shine with crisp pastry and beautiful ice cream.
We also love the tahini and almond parfait with roasted apricots and oat biscuits. The flavour transports me back to tasting halva (sweets made with sesame seeds) in the Middle East and the apricots are a lovely addition. We have a cheeky dessert wine to accompany the desserts, and it’s a brilliant way to finish the meal.
The dinner banquet is more expansive, and there are plenty of other dishes on the menu I’d return to try, like the muhammara dip (walnut and capsicum) and charcoal-grilled octopus.
Med is located at 1 Burbury Close, Barton. They are open for lunch from 12 noon to 2.30 pm Tuesday to Friday, and dinner from 5.30 pm to late. Make a booking via Med’s website, and follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.