At The Bar with Rumi Owner and Chef Joseph Abboud

As founder and chef of Rumi in East Brunswick, Joseph Abboud has spent the last 16 years bringing Middle Eastern flavours to the table; simple dishes that riff on his Lebanese heritage and his mother’s home cooked meals, as much as they are reimagined through his contemporary culinary storytelling.

The late Anthony Bourdain famously ate at his restaurant in 2009, with a recipe in Abboud’s cookbook acknowledging the iconic chef’s visit.

Abboud talks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series; revealing his favourite Melbourne and Sydney bar, as well as a French wine and Mornington Peninsula winery that hits the right note.

MY CITY 

I live in Coburg North. I love that we live near lots of green space and two creeks, the Merri and Edgars. Importantly, it is not too far from my parents.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

I think being hand-fed kibbeh nayeh by my mum at a very young age is one of few “romantic” food stories I have. She’d be making a batch of kibbeh (minced lamb and burghul) and would pass me a nugget in the process.

FAVOURITE BAR 

I don’t go to bars often enough to have a favourite, but I recently enjoyed a visit to Bar Thyme in Footscray. I’m often happy to be told what to drink. I had a Metassa wine. Olla Blanc. Delicious.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOUR PERSONALITY AND WHY

Arak. It’s Lebanese and goes with everything – even though it’s strong.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

I’m fortunate enough to know where to stop. Prevention seems to be the best cure. Very boring of me, I know.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

Sitting up at the bar at Jimmy’s Felafel if I’m in Sydney. I can get an arak and the tastiest Lebanese food.

FAVOURITE WINE 

Matassa Brutal Rouge. A wine that is full of life and real bright.

FAVOURITE WINERY 

Quealy Winemakers, Balnarring, Mornington Peninsula. Biodynamic. Lovely family. You can have a look around at their amphora and fermentations.

NEXT DESTINATION 

I’m heading to Adelaide with the family on our annual trip to WOMADelaide World Music Festival. I’ll be making an effort to get to Parwana Afghan Kitchen while there. Love it.

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