It's been more than three years since we blogged about Cafe Zum Zum - it's still doing its thing with very few changes, at a few dollars more per plate. The entrée list has many tempting vegetarian options, while the mains include only one meat-free plate. Many dishes are heavy with dairy - a vegan could potentially cobble together a meal from entrées but I'd recommend calling ahead.
From our last visit I remembered sitting outside under weird blue lighting, eating feta pastries and chickpea salad. If only I'd remembered that we were stuffed from sharing four entrées, we might not have ordered three entrées and a main this time! Eep.
The sambousik ($14) are golden filo parcels stuffed with feta and mint, and everything you'd hope them to be.
The falafel ($12) are less memorable but still good, coated in a thick tahini sauce. I like that they come with a tart little side salad.
The highlight for me has always been the fatteh ($15), a chickpea salad dressed in yoghurt, tahini and olive oil, topped with tomatoes, mint and crispy squares of toasted bread. I would happily eat this solo, as a main, with a little fresh bread to mop up the dressing.
Finally, we checked out the pumpkin and eggplant tagine ($25). I didn't detect the pickled chillies listed on the menu but did strike a couple black olives. Brine hits excepted this is sweet and soft, just melting in the mouth.
We also received a basket of soft pita bread and dish of aromatic rice to soak up all the sauce. It was a lovely meal - too much food, though not too much to pay.
You can read about our first visit to Cafe Zum Zum here. Since then it's had positive reviews on Cakestorm, food men & love and Melbourne Places, while Eat N Speak was disappointed with their experience.
Cafe Zum Zum
645 Rathdowne St, Carlton North
veg entrées $11-16, mains $25
Accessibility: Entry is average (no step, I don't think) and tables are a bit crowded. There's full table service. The lighting is fairly dim and it can get quite loud and echo-y.