Melbourne has become the latest city to welcome Miznon, the world-famous Israeli street food eatery run by celebrity Israeli chef Eyal Shani. Founded in Tel Aviv, the restaurant also has branches in Vienna and Paris, and will land in New York before 2017 is out.
The Melbourne restaurant is located over a three-floor space at 59 Hardware Lane. Although all incarnations of Miznon bear the same name, each is unique, in terms of interior and culinary offerings. The Hardware Lane location has a bar, a lounge and plenty of space on the top floor, which Shani describes as "like the machine of a big boat".
"Each of our restaurants is a different one," says Shani. "Because we see the pita as a translator of a mood, a culture, a people. We try to fit into the atmosphere, the will, the passion of the city ... Otherwise, I have no reason to open because I don't have the will to copy myself."
While about 40 percent of the menu is shared across branches, 60 percent is new. Melburnians will be treated to a new way of making felafel, like a hamburger, which Shani describes as "unbelievable". Meanwhile, Miznon's classic beans, which are steamed, then sizzled with olive oil, lemon and garlic, will find a fresh life, in the many varieties available in Australia.
"It's like each bean is carrying an atmosphere, so it's like you're eating the atmosphere of the country. They're so fresh and so crunchy," says Shani. Also on the menu is a Wagyu kebab, a slow-cooked terrine and a spicy, tomato-based dish made with local fish.
To Shani, pita is quintessential way to serve food. "Why?" he says. "Because you can sell it in the street. You can take the energy of the street. You can sell it cheap ... If I were to put the ingredients on a plate, it'd be like a two or three-star restaurant."