A BELOVED family recipe spanning decades and tens of thousands of kilometres has made its way to Hawthorn Road, Caulfield.
Israeli expat Yaakov Omisi this week opened Falafel Omisi, styled on his grandparents’ legendary Middle Eastern cafe, which first opened in the Israeli region of Tel Mond in 1961.
The kosher dine-in and take-away cafe is entirely vegetarian and includes staples such as falafel platters and pockets, dips and Israeli salads, and traditional Yemenite dishes including malawach and sabich – the former a fluffy puff-pastry comfort food and the latter a pita pocket stuffed with eggplant and boiled egg.
“After I moved here, my grandmother came over to visit and she gave me all her recipes and taught me how to make all her dishes,” Omisi said. “This is the result.”
Omisi’s parev cafe, one of two new kosher establishments on the burgeoning Melbourne scene, opened in the past week.
Mini Bites, located on Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick, is a fleishig restaurant, which also offers fresh and frozen take-home meals.
Open from 10am from Sunday to Thursday, casual dining is available from a selection of meat, salad and rice or couscous dishes and desserts on display until 5pm, when more formal, a la carte dining begins.
“Everything has great flavour and all is cooked fresh on the premises in a clean and friendly environment,” general manager Dov Unfanger said. “Many of our desserts have never been seen before in kosher Melbourne.”
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The two new establishments bring the total number of kosher cafes in Melbourne to 13, following two other openings in recent months.
Both in Ripponlea, fleishig Middle Eastern grill Pikanti opened on busy Glen Eira Road this year around the corner from Chopsticks Blue, a modern Asian restaurant run by Danny Amzalak, who formerly owned Lamzini’s.
Pikanti – like Mini Bites, and milchig pizza and felafel outlet Zavdiel’s – is certified under Adass Israel kashrut, while Kosher Australia oversees the certification of Melbourne’s nine other establishments and Glick’s bakeries.
Caption: Yaakov Omisi (left) with chef Levi Maatouf at Felafel Omisi. Photo: Peter Haskin