Rumi by Joseph Abboud
Heartwarming, flavour-packed recipes from the Middle East via Joseph Abboud's iconic Melbourne eatery, Rumi.
How often has the phrase 'of Middle Eastern appearance' been employed to evoke fear and prejudice? This cookbook is here to challenge that.
Chef Joseph Abboud's food looks Middle Eastern because its proud origins are a little bit Lebanese, a little bit Persian, and a little bit Turkish - but it also represents the heart of an honest and enduring eatery in inner Melbourne's Brunswick, named for the 13th-century poet.
This is food cooked with an egalitarian ethos and, yes, with soul. Forget veg-forward, this is hierarchy-free food; salads, fish, veg, meat and toum (with almost everything) all command their place in a meal at Joe's table. Regulars will give thanks for classics like the three-cheese Sigaras, the Rumi Meatballs and the famous Lamb Shoulder; everyone else has the joy of discovery ahead. To roll call a few, there's a Fattoush for Every Season, a delightfully 'inauthentic' Broccoli Tabbouleh, Joe's mother's Eggplant M'Nazleh and The Quail That Anthony Bourdain Ate.
Joe is wary of sharing the 60-plus recipes in this book, not for fear of divulging secrets so much as exposing how simple his cooking is. Certainly, his intention is not that this book represents the end for these favourites. Rather, the opposite is what he hopes for: 'For their new custodians, it's just the beginning. Whatever that looks like.'
About the Author
Joseph Abboud has been cooking his take on modern Middle Eastern food at Rumi, his restaurant in Melbourne's inner northern suburbs, since 2006. The vibe is chill, the rules are broken, the food is generous, the cauliflower is burnt, and the locals are lucky. Joe earnt his stripes in modern European kitchens but made the jump to the cuisine of his Lebanese heritage after identifying an opportunity to explore new ways to frame Middle Eastern food; combining both the flavours he knew innately through his childhood and expressions of his own experiences. He took a punt that Melbourne was ready for shared plates, real charcoal barbecues, tahini sauces, Arabic coffee, and the honest Abboud hospitality his beloved restaurant is now known for. Turns out he was right.
Paperback, 208 pages.