Food and Drink



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If you have been travelling through SoJo (yes, that’s ‘South’ Johnston St, Collingwood) for the past 12 months, you will have seen a sign “Coming soon… Bayte…”

Well, Bayte has finally arrived from under its bedlah this week in the form of 70-seater split leveled café, with chef owner Julie Touma serving up Middle Eastern classics with a modern tweak for all-day-breakfast and lunch.

Tastefully decorated with ornate light fittings, Lebanese coffee pots and traditional Middle Eastern water pitchers, I was furious I’d left my hookah back at the office. Going for an early weekday lunch would be a safe bet to get a seat; it was bustling by 1pm.

Mezze style, the lamb kafta with home made yoghurt and dukkah was a winner ($11.00). The lamb was beautifully cooked – just pink and dripping with all the classic flavours of spring onion, parsley, and a pinch of cinnamon. The yoghurt was creamier than, well, cream and dusted with a bright green nutty dukkah. This was all mopped up with handmade Lebanese village bread.

Julie makes everything from scratch, even the dips ($8.00) are blended by hand with a mortar and pestle. As it was after midday I opted for a Phoenix organic soft drink, but caffeine crazies can sip on Allpress Espresso organic blend coffee. Bayte also carries a range of Tasmanian ‘Art of Tea’ and use Jonesy’s milk from Northern Victoria.

The sweets on offer weren’t extensive, in fact it was a blueberry muffin and an almond and semolina cake ($4.00) – the cake a happy union of golden honey drenched almonds with a moist yet crumbly base. My fingers are crossed in hope that Julie and co will hit us up with some traditional Middle Eastern desserts sooner rather than later.

Bayte is open from 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends; imagine having semolina pancakes filled with walnuts, rosewater, ashtah and pistachios in the beautiful sunny courtyard! Any minute now they’ll have secured a liquor license and I can see some very long lunches in my near future at this Collingwood newcomer.

56 Johnston St, Collingwood
9417 4016
Weekdays: 7am – kitchen closes at 4pm
Weekends: 8am – kitchen closes at 4pm

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