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Maha Bar Is Shane Delia's New Collingwood Cocktail and Meze Joint with Free Middle Eastern Snacks

Yes, free snacks. Three nights a week.
By Libby Curran
March 02, 2020
By Libby Curran
March 02, 2020

In what's already one of this year's most impressive makeovers, renowned chef Shane Delia has transformed his OG Biggie Smalls kebab store into new venture: elegant meze and cocktail bar Maha Bar. The Smith Street space that once sported a playful diner fit-out is now entirely unrecognisable, reimagined by Studio Y in a vision of warm timber panelling and elegant curves.

Where Delia's long-running CBD fine diner Maha is pushing the creative envelope, Maha Bar is the more classic-leaning, smart-yet-casual counterpart. It has similar vibrant Middle Eastern flavours, but with a menu that beckons you to sit down and settle in for some good old-fashioned feasting.

Julia Sansone

The menu starts with drinking snacks and works its way up to heartier dishes, offering plenty of vegan goodness along the way. Grab a drink and tuck into bites like crispy buns stuffed with spiced beef or eggplant, dainty semolina crumpets topped with saffron-cured egg yolk and caviar, creamy hummus paired and a medley of maple-roasted carrots. Grilled fish comes matched with capers, green olives and a burnt butter sauce, while a dish of Macedon Ranges duck breast features pomegranate and a crispy bastilla. And if decisions aren't your thing, you'll find soufra or 'feed me' menus for both vegans and carnivores (both for $65).

Behind the bar, a range of house-infused raki and arak takes centre stage, alongside a strong collection of crafty cocktails. You'll find drinks like a raki sazerac, a turkish delight martini and four styles of negroni, including a chocolate and orange riff made with whisky and amaro. A smart curation of wine and boutique brews is also on offer, while on Mondays and Tuesdays, punters are allowed to BYO wine.

Julia Sansone

If you need any extra encouragement to head in for a feasting session, just look at what awaits you at the bar every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In the generous spirit of Delia's Maltese heritage, the kitchen's plating up a rotation of free meze snacks from 3–5pm for anyone enjoying a drink. Order a cocktail and pique your appetite with a taster of what's to come — perhaps some lentil kibbe, traditional pork sausage or warm yoghurt bread matched with za'atar.

Find Maha Bar at 86 Smith Street, Collingwood. It's open daily for dinner from 5pm, and for lunch on Friday to Sunday from 12pm.

Images: Julia Sansone

Published on March 02, 2020 by Libby Curran

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