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Za Za Ta Is Fortitude Valley's New Go-To for Middle Eastern-Inspired Cocktails and Cuisine

It's now open inside the Ovolo the Valley.
By Sarah Ward
August 06, 2019
By Sarah Ward
August 06, 2019

When Ovolo the Valley took over Ann Street's former Emporium Hotel, it launched with plenty of fanfare, but without an onsite restaurant. That's no longer the case, with the Fortitude Valley spot welcoming its newest addition: Middle Eastern-inspired kitchen and bar Za Za Ta.

A 240-seat space that extends across multiple rooms, Za Za Ta takes its culinary cues from Israeli — executive chef Roy Ner (who's previously worked at Nour and Aria in Sydney) was born there, and has long enjoyed mixing his heritage into his cooking. "We're having fun making soulful and dynamic Middle Eastern. Each recipe has a lot of heritage — we're taking centuries old recipes and bringing them back to life," Ner explains. And while the restaurant definitely has a particular focus, it also weaves in Mediterranean flavours, plus cooking techniques that span everywhere from France to Japan.

Menu-wise, expect nibbles, share-friendly small and large plates, and a raw selection, including breads, dips, charcuterie and cheese all made in-house. Patrons can start with a challah toastie filled with wagyu bits and pickled sugarloaf cabbage, fried goats cheese pretzels with house lamb bacon and yolk aioli, or beetroot pastrami with smoked rye and horseradish, then move on to the likes of octopus with camel nduja and eggplant, or charcoal rainbow trout with cucumber and chilli salsa, plus herring tahini.

From the heftier range, other standouts include duck breast with black garlic and foie cream, as well as charcoal short rib with bullhorn and coriander.  A seven-dish vegetable menu includes baby cauliflower shawarma, eggplant fingers with caramelised haloumi and falafel chips with tahini aioli. And, come Sunday, August 25, Za Za Ta will also launch a brunch offering that includes a grazing spread, charcuterie mezze platters, woodfired dishes such as smashed avocado with pickled kolorhabi and chilli manoush, and even poached lobster.

With the bar open until 2am daily, there's also a considerable late-night focus inspired by Tel Aviv's after-dark dining scene. Drinks are a big focus, showcasing rum beverages, spice-infused drinks using fresh cold-pressed juices and new takes on old classics, as well as Middle Eastern botanicals, Mediterranean-style gin and tonics, and shared cocktails. There are no prizes for guessing which regions takes pride of place on the wine list, with biodynamic, organic and skin contact vinos a highlight too. A selection of craft beers helps round out the booze range, while folks after a non-alcoholic tipple will find options such as house-made limonana (which blends mint and dehydrated lemon) and hibiscus rose iced tea.

In its design elements, Za Za Ta mixes things up, with the sprawling spot will taking patrons on a bit of a tour — jumping back to the 1940s as well as to the Victorian era. Heroing everything from reclaimed lead light doors, Lacroix carpets and tessellated tiles, to wrought iron, velvet upholstery and washed plywood furniture, award-winning interior designers Luchetti Krelle have decked out the space, which also incorporates nods to Queensland architecture.

Find Za Za Ta at Ovolo the Valley, 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley. The kitchen is open for brunch from 11.30am–4pm on Sundays, for launch from 11.30am–2.30pm Wednesday–Friday, and for dinner from 5.30pm Tuesday–Saturday. The bar operates from 4pm from Sunday–Thursday, and from 12pm on Friday–Saturday. 

Published on August 06, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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