The last time I went to the Prophet Lebanese cafe in East Victoria Park was at least a few years ago and I remembered that their falafel was so flavoursome, crunchy and delectable and their baba ghanouj had this amazing smokey flavours and their dishes seemed authentic lebanese (with some nod to an Australian twist).
This time around, I was trying to set up my bf friend with one of my gf and this just seemed like the perfect casual dining blind date. The problem was that this place gets packed quickly, (whether it's the weekend or not) and seeing as everyone RSVP'd late I booked this on a Thursday night for a Saturday night dinner and was lucky to get a table, even if it was at 530pm. Granted it worked out for my gf seeing as she eats dinner at 6pm (so early! I don't know how you could be hungry at that hour!).
The Prophet is a very conspicuous cafe. No real fancy lights, no decor on the inside and only seats about 20-30 people with simple tables and chairs. Our orders were promptly taken and complimentary pita bread with labneh dip were placed on the table.
Complimentary dip and pita bread with pickled cucumber
We decided that because only a few of us has eaten here before we had the meat and vegetarian tasting platters. Bf couldn't eat some of the dishes due to his nut allergy so he had to himself grilled chicken meal and bf's friend said their satay was good (I don't know if that was the best decision, to have satay chicken at a Lebanese place - but I'm up for trying!) so ordered that too. We also had the falafel and ghanouj to share.
The baba ghanouj, suffice to say, was exactly as I remembered! Smokey smell and taste to it. It was creamy and the smell of charcoal was evident. Smothered on the pita bread, it was fantastic.
The falafel was even more fantastic. Better than what I remembered. Crunchy on the outside with perfectly cooked chickpea mix on the inside generously topped with this lovely creamy sauce. I could have had a lot more than just one. I think next time I'll just have this for my dinner. Might not necessarily be a healthy dinner but it's hella delicious.
The Prophet famous falafel ball (usually comes in six but we order additional ones)
Bf started digging into his grilled garlic chicken, which came with chips and salad, before I had a chance to take a photo. The dressing on the salad was lovely and the chicken was slightly burnt but the flavours were there. Not worth the $18.00 price tag, but then bf wasn't able to eat a lot on the menu. Definitely not NUT allergy friendly.
The next dish was one that was recommended by bf's friend, the satay chicken. It looked like the right satay chicken colour, but the "Thai flavours" associated with satay chicken - you know the peanutty slightly spiced - wasn't in this dish. It was more sweet and garlic and I really couldn't taste the nutty flavours associated with satay. Weird. But if this wasn't called satay, and was something else (sweetened chicken?? or creamy garlic chicken?) it wasn't too bad. But if this really was suppose to be satay - I may be missing something - perhaps it's the way Lebanese people do satay?
Next we ordered the mixed meat platter which contained one skewer of shish kebab, kefta and shish tawook, along with baba ghanouj, lentils and rice, hummus,and loubiah beans. The kebabs were delicious and were well marinated with what I'm sure is their secret herbs and spices. The meat were still juicy and were surprisingly tender. The hommus was creamy goodness and the lentils and rice is always a favourite of mine, especially when mum makes it at home. The loubiah beans on the other hand, I wasn't a huge fan, it was strangely bitter and sour all at the same time. Two mix of flavours that doesn't go well together at all.
Mixed meat platter
We also grabbed ourselves the mixed vegetarian platter. Which contains much of the same thing except the addition of vine leaves and cabbage rolls (very much like what the Greeks would make as well) and bat-injan (eggplant with tangy tahini sauce).
Mixed vegetarian platter
I was a little disappointed that the mixed meat platter and the mixed vegetarian platters were too similar. I feel as though the waitress should have informed us of that before we ordered otherwise we would have ordered something different. Perhaps just kebabs and a mixed vegetarian platter. VERY disappointed that we weren't informed.
In fact, that's the one thing that I felt was a huge let down was that the service (that was once there and once so friendly and welcoming) was pretty much non-existent. I'm not sure if it's because we dined at 530pm and there was only a few other tables so they were feeling a little lazy or something rather, but the lack of communication was a little downer. The service was also rather slow. Took them 30-45minutes for the falafel and the babe ghanouj to come out (and come on it wasn't packed yet!).
Overall though it's a nice little cafe that makes authentic Lebanese cuisine and is worth checking out. Not cheap for what you get and not everything is great. Perhaps stick to the falafel, baba ghanouj, hummus and the kebabs.