6101 Tapas and Meze Bar

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What’s in a name? At the 6101 Tapas and Meze Bar the new owners are planning on a name change, but as long as the food remains as amazing as it currently is, we really don’t care what it’s called. With food that juxtaposes Mediterranean with Middle Eastern, it’s definitely treat time.

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About as wide as a postage stamp, this little tapas and meze venue in East Vic Park oozes warmth and charm. With its main eating area out the back decked out in red chairs, blankets, heater and canvas covers overhead, you can get cosy with a small band of friends or just a loved one, and enjoy some fresh and inspiring Mediterranean/Lebanese food.

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Courtesy of another Dimmi special, our table of six reaped the benefits of an evening with 50% off the cost of food. Our hosts informed us that they are trying to get new customers in the door, and the discount was an enticement they hope will pay off with return patronage. After our foodie experience, we were unanimous in our desire to return. Even at full price, this place is a bargain.

Based on the owner’s recommendations, we decided to share dishes so we could experience a good cross section of the food on offer.

With several types of seafood on the menu, we elected to try the grilled garlic mussels. The generous sized serving of these fresh, large mussels featured a light breadcrumb gratin topping.

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Next up were Cigars;Ā  firm Lebanese cheese with fresh parsley, wrapped and deep fried and served with a black olive tapenade. With very little spicing, this simple dish was a table pleaser. Apparently the father of one of the owners grows a veritable market garden of fresh herbs on his Hills property, and these are utilised daily in the 6101 kitchen. Pesticide free and grown with a healthy dose of love, the 6101 people believe these herbs are what imbue their dishes with a little something special.

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The lentil koftas were not the fried versions we expected. These red lentils had been soaked in water to soften them, drained and mixed with lemon, onion and herbs, spiced with some chilli, and rolled into croquette shapes. Fresh and citrusy, this new and interesting slant on the traditional kofta was a welcome contrast to some of the other richer foods we’d ordered.

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6101’s version of dolmades was their stuffed cabbage rolls with mustard sauce. Filled with spiced rice and sultanas, this was another tasty dish where the simple flavours really spoke for themselves. Although the rice filling was similar to traditional dolmades, the cabbage and the sauce resulted in something entirely different. Less oily and less heavy.

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It’s pate folks, but not as we know it. The garlic walnut chicken pate was finely shredded chicken subtly flavoured with garlic and served with toasted Turkish bread. Quite a change from the usual smooth, blended pate, and quite delicious.

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The warm Sujuk was 6101’s slant on chorizo, but perhaps softer and less chewy than many chorizos. Served with Turkish bread again, this was a quality product that worked well as a shared dish.

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JS chose her own dish rather than share, and of course I got to taste test this one too. Her mild chilli mussels were served with a rich tomato-based sauce and mounds of toasted Turkish bread. As JS said, although the meal itself wasn’t huge, the richness of the dish meant that she couldn’t comfortably eat anything else. If I had to describe the sauce, I’d say it had Italian origins with a Lebanese slant.

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Not to be beaten by our savoury dishes, three of us managed to squeeze in dessert. No, I wasn’t one of them. Tempting as the desserts sounded, I was happy to sit back and get my sweet fix vicariously. The cinnamon rice pudding, banana cream cake and the creme brulee were all generous portions and had three of our gals licking their chops. I might have seen a finger scraping the bowl too, but I won’t tell anyone if you won’t šŸ™‚

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In the next few weeks 6101 or what-ever-it-shall-be-known-as, will introduce new menu items, including some large share plates intended for groups.The new owners are switched on to the needs of their customers, and are very hands-on when it comes to meeting, greeting, serving and looking after everyone. Friendly, reasonably priced and with fresh and interesting food, this little place on the Albany Hway strip is well worth a visit. Bring a bottle of vino and relax for a few hours, letting your taste buds revel in some simple, fresh flavours. Bookings recommended.

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