You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a taste adventure.
In fact, it’s possible to stay on the Gold Coast and journey via your tastebuds to the exotic Middle East, dining on the authentic cuisine of one of the oldest cultures in the world: Persia.
Influenced by many surrounding countries through trade and migration, Persian cuisine carries many typical dishes, often of meat, in the form of stews or kebobs, accompanied by rice, vegetables and various breads. It’s simple wholesome food carrying the flavours of dried lime, cinnamon, parsley and saffron. Almost all the world’s saffron is produced in Iran.
Located in Broadbeach, Rumi is a gracious, comfortable restaurant owned by Meisam Talebladeh. Inspired by the Sufi poet and mystic Rumi, it’s spotlessly clean and neat. We are instantly relaxed, enjoying the coolness inside away from outside’s lunchtime heat, the highly decorative plates a visual feast.
We enter the restaurant through the front courtyard, a beautiful area to sit and dine when the weather is fine; the place to enjoy shisha. Looking to our right, Mohammed is working at his station baking fresh flatbread to order in the tandoor oven outside. It’s served to our table a moment later, delivered on top of a cane basket to accompany olives and dips, such as Hummus, Mast Musir (sweet garlic and yoghurt) and our favourite, Kashk Bademjan (grilled eggplant, caramelised onion and garlic with fried mint and whey).
There are pages of choice for main course and, seeing how large the meals are on other tables, we leave room for a feast. Choose from kabobs or meat dishes such as lamb shank, grilled chicken, whole fish, stews, meatballs, or Loobia Polo, a traditional Persian rice dish cooked with green beans, which vegetarians could pair with dips and salad.
With so many options, we choose the delicious Mixed Grill Platter – three skewers of different meats (chicken, lamb and grilled minced meat served with saffron and spiced rice, nuts, salad and other sides), a feast for the eyes and belly ($49 for two), and we end up getting take away to enjoy later! From the meat to the rice and sides, dishes are interesting due to the fragrant spices of the East. No wonder the explorers saw spices as such a valuable commodity!
This is a certified Halal restaurant, but there is a mix of diners, the meals being reasonably priced and generous in size. It’s also BYO, which many tables are using to their advantage. There’s a lunch party as well as a large family group of diners, with plenty of room for couples to spread out around the edges.
Somehow, we still find space for dessert: Saffron, pistachio and rose water ice cream, delicious enough to warrant an eye roll with a cup of Persian tea!
We leave Rumi feeling that we have only scratched the surface of Persian cuisine. We could embark on many more discovery journeys.
8/90 Surf Parade, Broadbeach Ph: 07 5511 4002
Open Mon – Fri 5.30 – 9pm; Sat – Sun 12noon – 9.30pm.
NOTE: Rumi is open late on Friday and Saturday nights for card and backgammon games. The restaurant offers a 10% discount for Bond and Griffith university students. Take away is also available.
This review has also been published in Blank GC.