Monday, August 23, 2010

August 14, 2010: Tiba's Restaurant

We've long been aware of Tiba's Lebanese restaurant on Sydney Rd but our few previous attempts at visiting were all comically thwarted. It seems that every time we've thought to dine there it's been during Ramadan, and therefore impossible to secure a table after sunset. Funnier still, our recent successful visit also occurred during Ramadan, albeit at lunch time. There's far less competition for tables then.

Both of us being ravenously hungry and keen to sample across the menu, we didn't spend too much time perusing the menu before deciding upon the $13 vegetarian set menu. The wait seemed unfairly long, given how greedy we were and how sparsely filled the restaurant was, but when the food arrived there weren't any half measures. We were served a large platter of goods each, with a massive bag of flat breads on the side.

It was an absolute FEAST.  The tabouli and chickpea salads were lovely (and not too onion heavy) and the stuffed vine leaves, not usually a favourite of mine, even tickled my fancy.  The falafel were some of the best I've eaten anywhere, just heavenly dipped into the yoghurt and cucumber dip.  But the yoghurt barely got a look in once I tasted the smoky, silky babaganouge.  Incredible!  As I begin to fill up, my allegiance shifted to the delightful and slightly-less-rich hommos. The green salad and pickled turnip added some welcome freshness.  The only let-down was the cheese pie, bland and very dry.  (Vegan note - I would imagine that everything bar the cheese pie and yoghurt dip would be vegan-friendly, and I'd venture that this plate is still well worth $13 with those items omitted.)

Michael, in a heroic effort, nearly cleared his plate.  I didn't.  But I didn't regret my order one bit. It was a terrific way to sample Tiba's vegetarian wares and I'll order my favourite items with confidence next time.

Service was passable - attentive to begin with and then difficult to regain after we'd ordered - and it could be remarkably different when filled closer to capacity.  It'd have to be atrocious, though, before it discouraged me from more of these falafel and dips.


Address: 504 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Ph: 9380 8425
Price: vegetarian set menu $13


  1. Service unreliable but the food is always good and cheap. No grog though so not everyone's idea of a night out. They do a darn fine takeaway falafel also you get get tubs of their better-than-average dips to take home.

  2. So glad you guys finally made it!

  3. i was there again just last night... and in a bit of cultural fail didn't think that it would be packed because of ramadan! the babaganoush is amaaaaaazing. my vegan friends tend to get the felafel serve with babaganoush instead of tzatziki-style dip.

  4. Ooh, I must try this out. The housemate will love this place!

  5. AOF, I think I'll be going home with extra dip next time. :-)

    It has certainly been a long time coming, soupurb.

    Hi nixwilliams! Yeah, I think that's probably a good choice. I imagine the stuffed vine leaves might also be vegan-friendly.

    Hope you like it too, Celeste. :-)

  6. We love this place! Just a head's up on the vegan-ess of the dips. My housemate is dairy intolerant and she's been told by the Tiba's staff that they put a bit of yoghurt in the baba ganoush so its hummus or nothing for her.

  7. Have you been to Half Moon Cafe (13 Victoria St, Coburg VIC 3058). They are the Coco Loco in falafel world.

  8. K - thanks for the vegan alert!

    Toby - yes, we have been to Half Moon Cafe. :-)