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Mecca Bah

Mecca Bah is an oasis serving 'infusion cuisine' influenced by the flavours of Morocco, the Middle East and North Africa.
By Daniela Sunde-Brown
September 03, 2013
By Daniela Sunde-Brown
September 03, 2013

Walking into the Emporium complex is like stepping into an island mirage within the otherwise deserted landscape of the Valley. Never a dull moment, this place is packed with punters wining and dining and boasts a few of the best restaurants in Brisbane. In the centre you'll find Mecca Bah, an oasis serving what they call infusion cuisine influenced by the flavours of Morocco, the Middle East and North Africa. The fit-out is relaxed, taking cues from Middle Eastern patterns and colours, giving them a modern and minimalist twist.

For such a large and busy restaurant, Mecca Bah's service was fantastic. Our waitress was consistent and attentive without being intrusive, something that makes the comfort of a casual dining scene at Mecca Bah so popular.

One of the joys of Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine is how they work sweet and savoury tastes together. On recommendation, we ordered the bastilla ($15) - out came a trio of delicious Moroccan chicken filled pastries generously dusted with a coating of cinnamon sugar. Devine.

For mains, don't skip past the tagines.  Named after the ceramic dish they are cooked in, Mecca Bah offer five varieties of the slow-cooked dishes. We couldn't walk past the lamb ($25) cooked in a tomato base with salty green olives and spicy harissa on a bed of couscous. The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth soft and the combination with tomato and couscous makes this a true comfort food. Dish of the night, however, went to the Moroccan spiced calamari ($24) with a Turkish bean salad. This dish tasted fresh, healthy and was bursting with flavour.

On ordering our waitress warned us that the Turkish pizzas were huge and advised that we wouldn't finish it plus two mains. Challenge accepted. The pizzas here are not like nonna does them, the almond shaped base is stacked with topping before the edges are folded in. The result is a crispy wood-fired boat of joy - no cheese in sight. We tried the spiced chicken ($24) with eggplant, rocket and tahini. They are generous on the chicken, and just for the record - we finished it.

Okay, we may have proved our point but rookie error, no room left for dessert. We're told the chocolate and Turkish delight brownie ($12.5) is to die for, and were tempted by some interesting ice-cream flavours - Middle Eastern halva, Turkish coffee, baked apple. No dish on the menu costs more than $25 making this casual dining experience an easy choice for lunch or dinner. I guess we'll be heading back for more soon, if not just for dessert.

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