Thursday, 11 December 2008

Lets Start With Something Sweet - Balha's Pastry

A selection of buttery filo, pistachio, semolina and syrupy goodness at Balha's Pastry

Yes I have been absent and neglectful for some time. I do admit to reaching a point where Blogger’s more annoying idiosyncrasies such as its unpredictable interpretation of command lines and tendency to spontaneously evaporate uploaded pictures into the ether, irritated me more than was rational. That and the grudging realisation that experiences were becoming more about the photo and blogability than food and companionship. So perhaps it had been timely hiatus. But the main excuse is really that life had been crazy busy including the purchase of our first home, then having to spend weeks overseas on my day job away from that same lovely, and equally neglected house! But in that time we have certainly not stopped eating and there had been quite a few interesting not to mention exotic food experiences. And I’m excited to tell again…

For those of us who love exotic sweet treats it’s hard to go past Balha’s Pastry in Brunswick, a palatial temple to Middle Eastern desserts complete with twin grand staircases that lead up to an upper floor for seat-in indulgence. What’s more, they remain open to 10 pm all week to cater for those occasional late evening cravings with strong, drink-this-and-forget-about-sleep coffees. The challenge at Balha's comes in attempting to choose from the endless arrays on display and waiting for ones turn to nominate that choice amongst the eager weekend crowds hungry for their buttery syrup fix. Our usual strategy is to grab a counter ticket before dodging in for a reccy of the displays. We’ll then hopefully be ready to point to our selections when our number is called! My current favourite is a generous ‘slice’ containing a soft labneh-like filling that is sandwiched between crispy vermicellied kataifi wafers topped with pistachio crumbs and drizzled liberally with orange blossom or rosewater syrup…whimper.

Spot Score: 15/20

Balha’s Pastry
761 Sydney Road, Brunswick, VIC.

4 comments:

thanh7580 said...

Hi Towser, wondering what happened to you. I feel your pain regarding Blogger. It was a great starting point but I'm looking towards a paid hosting site. Last month, my blog just instantly disappeared for no reason and I couldn't find a way to contact Blogger at all. Finally, I submitted a request saying I deleted my blog accidentally (even though I didn't) and got it restored after 4 days. Still don't know what happened to this day.

Balha's is good, but you must try El Fayha (or El Faiha, spelling varies from the store sign to shop window sign). It's at 648 Sydney Rd. The shop front is very hard to spot, so I've posted a photo of it here. I must have written about El Fayha's over ten times in various posts. It's just that I haven't found a place doing better Lebanese pastries yet, Balha's included. Sarah from Sarah Cooks used to go to Balha's all the time too, but after she discovered El Fayha's, she too is now a convert.

Towser said...

Hi Thanh! Blogger is a pain but alas I simply don't have the time to invest in experimenting with an alternative at the moment, struggling to just keeping up the posting!
Thanks for the tip on El Fayha, think we may also have tried it ages ago and yes it was good! Though we like Balha too for its sheer variety and adventure! Hey, and I was quite taken with that "big blocky thing that taste like bland ricotta"!! Think it pandered to my lower threshold of sweet-toothphery :)

Agnes said...

Welcome back and congratulations on the house purchase! :)

Towser said...

Thanks Agnes, looking forward to endless weekends of DIY projects! Groan...