THE LOCAL CAFE, Hilton
by JENNY D’ANGER:
The Indonesians embraced the Middle-East’s martabbq aeons ago, making it their own, and a signature dish for countless street hawkers.
Originating in Yemen, mutabbq is Arabic for “folded” and it was introduced to South-East Asia by Indian traders centuries ago.
But you don’t have to journey back in time nor head overseas to enjoy one of the thin savoury pancakes—just head to The Local Cafe in Hilton.
It was a picture-perfect day when the D’Angers dropped in for lunch.
Mums and bubs were out in force, and littlies were running, or riding scooters, on the wide pavement fronting the cafe.
They were having such a wonderful time you couldn’t help but smile at their exuberance.
Martabbqs (or martabaks) are often meat-filled, but luckily for me The Local does a vegetarian version ($14).
The light, almost paper-thin pancake was folded around a delicious mix of vegetables and herbs so fresh they could have just been plucked from the garden.
D’Angerous went for the duck noodles ($23), ducking on the duck and opting for a vegetarian version.
The heaped plate of thin rice noodles was terrific, but a tad more sauce, or a side of soy sauce, would have lifted it even higher.
The third member of the lunch crew, Endora, was stalled by the size of her Turkish bread and dips ($12) and was happy to share.
Crisply toasted, with a liberal dousing of garlic and oil, the bread was delicious on its own. And terrific coated in the chilli oil, hommus or raita dip.
There was a slight delay in the food coming out—it could have been the cafe was short a staff member that day, or there was a mass of customers, but it was more likely that fresh and delicious takes longer than a greasy spoon burger. And is well worth the wait.
Being a sweet-tooth I was a horrified to discover The Local doesn’t do cakes, but was well mollified when told there is a sweet synchronicity with patisserie Sweet Desires next door.
Choose a cake ($4.50) from an astonishing display and head back to your table for a coffee, or a pot of tea, to wash it down. Sweet.
The Local Cafe
36 Paget Street, Hilton
Open 7 days breakfast and lunch
Phone 9337 7212