There’s no need for any preamble here, so I’m just going to come out and say it – Mashawi Moroccan & Middle Eastern is, hands down, one of my favourite Perth restaurants.
In a gorgeous space with high ceilings and a great big wooden feature wall, in a prime spot on Mt Lawyley’s Beaufort Street, with very attentive staff, a large menu and SO MANY absolutely delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, there really is a lot to love here.
Mashawi is a friendly and unpretentious spot – high ceilings, large windows looking out over Beaufort Street, bright decorative touches including recurrent pomegranate motifs. The tables are a little on the small side (especially when you want to try as much from the menu as possible) but the place regularly gets booked out, resulting in a lively and eclectic atmosphere.
The first thing to note is that Mashawi is BYO, and there’s a bottle shop just across the road if you need to grab something on the way. The menu is pretty extensive – so far, I’ve been here twice and tried six different dishes, and still have many more to try. As a vegetarian who often only has two or three things to choose between, I can’t tell you how much I love this menu.
The service is spot on, with staff regularly popping by to check everything is ok and refilling water glasses, and the food comes out really quickly once ordered. They’ll start you out with a complimentary basket of breads (toasted Turkish bread, Lebanese bread and fried Lebanese bread) and bowl of pickled veg, and these go perfectly with a bowl of hummus. We opted for the traditional (and vegan) option which was really tasty without being too bitter or garlicky, but the baba ganoush and tzatziki also look great.
The tapas menu is incredibly tempting, so do yourself a favour and try as many of them as you can. The cheese cigars were a surprise hit for me – the filo pastry stuffed with feta and spinach was light, fresh and tasty; the batata hara (spicy potatoes) were delicious and I could easily eat a whole bowl full to myself; and the haloumi, which was drizzled with olive oil and pomegranate and served with lemon, was divine without being too greasy or salty. The standout for me was the falafel – a generous serve of 10 pieces, they’re crispy and crunchy on the outside, but lovely and soft on the inside, and come with a great tahini based sauce.
At this point you may wonder how you could possibly fit any more food in, but you really should give it a good go, because the mains here are also amazing. Alongside dishes such as shish skewers, grilled fillets of fish, and chicken, lamb, fish and kofta tagines are five vegan tagine options, as well as soups and salads. I tried the cauliflower and potato tagine with couscous, which was a delicious spicy, zesty, salty mix of veggies and chickpeas. The serving size was very generous, and you can take away any leftovers you might have. Next time I visit I’ll be eyeing off the lentil rice tagine, topped with cauliflower, tahini sauce and pomegranates, the vegetarian couscous with seven vegetables and chickpeas, or the black fez – couscous stuffed grilled tomatoes.
Regardless of how full you are, you should definitely grab one of the pastries on show at the counter to take home with you – they look beautiful filled with custard or ricotta, or drizzled with honey and nuts. I’m not normally a big fan of baklava as I find they can be sickly sweet, but on my second visit when my friend decided to order one to take away, the lovely man who took our payment convinced us all to try the pistachio baklava – and then gave them to us on the house. This was such a surprising but very much appreciated gesture that topped off a wonderful night, and we all declared we’d definitely be back again. And that baklava? Even I couldn’t deny how tasty it was!
The verdict: The delicious, spicy, flavourful food, large selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, lovely and attentive staff and well-priced, large portions are just some of the reasons I’ll be back again and again – the falafels and batata just seal the deal.
Mashawi Moroccan & Middle Eastern – 644 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
Open from 6pm Sunday to Thursday and from 12 midday Friday and Saturday
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