We’ve been peering longingly into the windows of the new restaurant taking shape in Fortitude Valley’s The Emporium precinct for months now, but finally the doors have opened on ZA ZA TA, and they are ready to take over the Brisbane dining scene with their Middle Eastern-inspired fare.
Sliding in under Ovolo The Valley, the new venue might be exotic in name and in menu, but step into the stunning interiors here and you’ll still encounter a local feel. Spreading across several rooms, with multiple cosy nooks and corners, classic Queenslander style architecture has been blended with velvet lounges, colonial furnishings and Persian rugs to create a kaleidoscope of colours, textures and themes that together, somehow just work. You’ll feel like you just stepped into a real life Pinterest board, and that’s before you’re even shown into the vibrant dining room.
Heading up the Za Za Ta kitchen is Roy Ner, previously of Sydney’s Nour, and Dario Manca, ex-Pilu (also in Sydney) with a slew of other impressive international eateries also under his belt. The experience and expertise between these two is evident from the creative techniques and ingredients you’ll find on the epic menu, which brings together Jewish, Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean flavours and dishes for one hell of a feast.
Everything worth eating here starts from scratch, from the eight types of bread that are baked in house to the spiced duck breast that’s dry aged in the dedicated drying room installed downstairs. Must haves on your visit (because you know you're booking a table immediately) include the fried goats cheese pretzel with house lamb bacon and yolk aioli (drool), the wagyu bits challah toastie and whipped hummus with abalone mushroom shawarma. Vegetarians will be over the moon with almost the entire menu either vegetarian or able to be made so, including the likes of beetroot pastrami and wood fired cauliflower shawarma.
But while weeks of testing, tweaking and tasting went into the creation of every dish, utilising cooking techniques that would puzzle even the most experimental of home chefs, Ner has made sure the menu is blissfully uncomplicated. Easy to order and even easier to eat, the full line up of plates won’t scare you off, though you may have to do a quick Google under the table on some of the desserts. Finding out just what knafeh or halva is will probably only make you want it more though, let’s be honest.
For anyone who regularly winds up with a case of late night Valley hanger, a bar menu will also be on offer until the wee hours, with bite sized feeds designed to go with the imaginative cocktail list. But wait, there’s more: Sunday mornings will be dedicated to long, boozy brunches as of later this month—think tables piled high with grazing plates to pair with jugs of Arabian punch.
Ready to book that table? ZA ZA TA is open seven days a week, and you can find all their details here.
Image credit: Ranyhyn Laine and ZA ZA TA