The Left-Handed Chef, South Melbourne

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MELBOURNE | For seven years, owner/chef Ehud Malka operated The Left Handed Chef as a brunch focused cafe. You can read my original write up here. I recall chatting to Ehud in those early days about the cafe, and in particular the one or two Israeli items he’d have up on the specials board every now and then. He told me that his dream was for the Left Handed Chef to be an Israeli restaurant but he wasn’t sure if the area was ready for it yet.

After gradually increasing the Israeli options on the menu and trailing Israeli dinners last year, Ehud finally made a call late last year. The restaurant is now a lunch and dinner focused hummusiya, a casual Israeli restaurant devoted to hummus.

The hummus at The Left Handed chef is serious business. It’s not just a side as it is at some restaurants, but a real focus that can easily form the basis of an entire meal. Ehud makes hummus several times a day, using specially sourced chickpeas that have been soaked for several days, Israeli milled, Ethiopian sesame seed tahini, and very basic seasoning. This is hummus as it should be, and it’s a velvety, airy delight. Hummus lasts for several days, but if any is left over at the end of service, Ehud brings it home and makes a fresh batch the next day. That dedication to giving his customers the freshest, best food possible is evident throughout the menu.

You can order hummus plain, or with your choice of toppings. All options are served with pita bread. The basar – lamb and pine nuts mixed with harrisa, and kruvit – crumbed and fried cauliflower florets, are highly recommended. If it’s a pita pocket you’re after, try the sabich – boiled egg, fried eggplant, chips, tahini, amba (Iraqi-Israeli mango pickle) and parsley, or the classic option of felafel, hummus, Israeli salad and tahini.

Non-hummus dishes impress too. The whole fire roasted eggplant on yoghurt, topped with schug (green chilli sauce) & dried cranberries, is a revelation, as is the aley geffen – 4 stuffed vine leaves served with green tahini. If you’ve got a group, you might want to try the Jumbo Challah Schnitzel – multiple chicken schnitzels in a whole Challah loaf with matbucha (spicy tomato and capsicum) sauce, roasted eggplant, pickles and chips.

For sides, a few extra felafel and some fried halloumi never go astray, and to finish it all off you can go for some bakalva, rugelach, or a frozen tahini and banana “Magnum”. And also make sure you get a glass of the refreshing house made Isreali lemonade, which is loaded with fresh mint.

In a world where a lot of us end up doing jobs that we don’t particularly want to do, it’s uplifting to see someone doing something they love. When I first met Ehud, that desire to make the Left Handed Chef more than just a great brunch spot was strong, and it’s great to see that dream realised. The Left Handed Chef used to be a place that was well worth visiting if you were in the area, now it’s a place that’s well worth going out of your way to visit. Pay Ehud a visit, and you’ll leave very happy.

The Left Handed Chef

219 Park Street
South Melbourne
Victoria 3205
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9645 5800
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Wed – Mon: 11:00am to 8:30pm

The Left-Handed Chef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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