Well, hello stranger!

I know, I know it’s been ages. You are looking well though. Have you done something with your hair? Come here you! I missed you.

Tempeh Tantrum HQ took a bit of a blogging break after Christmas to concentrate on other writing projects. But I’m back! And keen as mustard to share loads more reviews and recipes with you lovely vegan folk — and, of course, your veg-curious friends and family.

It was my two-year veganniversary last week. I celebrated with a heavenly vegan banquet at Rumi in Brunswick. And I thought telling you all about it would be the perfect way to get the blog rolling again.

I’ve been to Rumi before. Not only has the Middle Eastern fare always been delectable, the service has always been impeccable. And this time was no different. I asked them if they would mind putting together a vegan version of their banquet and they were more than happy to oblige.

Captain Someone and both my folks (who were visiting from Sydney) are omnivores — but they oohd and aahd and smacked their lips right along with me through all four courses.

The first course was a selection of deliciously exotic finger food. Lebanese and Iranian pickled vegetables and olives, fresh radish and cucumber and beautifully soft and warm flat bread to mop up the rich white bean purée and tangy hummus. The second course was three plates: smokey braised greens in a tahini dressing; chickpeas in a rich roasted tomato sauce, topped with crunchy fried onions; and one of my Rumi favourites, fried potatoes in lemon, garlic and sumac. The aroma that clung to these dishes had me piling them onto my plate with the enthusiasm of a puppy at his bowl. So please forgive the photo which was quite frankly an afterthought and an inconvenient pause in my plan to devour all three dishes in one very unladylike plate-vacuuming. This was my favourite course. Apparently Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet. I’m telling you, get a wee bit of each of these dishes on one flavourful forkload and you have pure poetry folks. The raunchy kind.

The third course was also three plates: fried cauliflower with caramelised onions, currants and pine nuts; oven roasted baby tomatoes in za’atar; and a shaved cabbage salad with soused onions, raisins and almonds. The rich flavours again were a delicious combination of salty, sweet, tangy and fresh.

IMG_0534IMG_0537The fourth course was a cos and herb salad with a sweet and sour dressing, a freekeh and almond salad and slow-cooked brussel sprouts in almonds, caraway seeds and fresh dill. You’re getting the idea right? Enormous flavour with every course — and never the kind of thing you’d whip up in your own kitchen. These brussel sprouts were the tastiest I have ever eaten (and I’ve had them smothered in vegan butter and cheese before, so that’s sayin’ somethin’).

Brussel sprouts, RumiFreekeh SaladAnd then, despite being sinfully full, we couldn’t resist trying some of their vegan-friendly Turkish Delight and pistachio halva. Oh. My. Persian. Poet. Ah-may-zing. There is something very special about freshly made Turkish Delight. It’s light and delicate, sweet and sticky and leaves delicious white powder all over your face. And Rumi’s Turkish Delight was the perfect ending to a very memorable meal.

Turkish Delight, Rumi banquetVegan options: if you don’t fancy anything as flash as a four course feast there are plenty of other options at Rumi. One of the best things about Rumi is how friendly and accommodating the staff are. They’ll be happy to talk to you about their cruelty-free options.
The wet stuff: there are plenty of vegan-friendly alcohol options here as well as delicious Turkish tea or Lebanese coffee
Moola: the four course banquet is $45 a head — and would please any carnivores you might have in your group
Ear candy: didn’t notice — had too much to catch up on with my beautiful mum and dad

Do you know of any other vegan banquet options in Melbourne?