ZA ZA TA, Brisbane’s newest Tel Aviv-inspired bar and kitchen – blending Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food and drink – opened this week within The Emporium precinct The Valley.
Where cultures collide amongst a sprawling, colonial backdrop, buzzing open kitchen and cocktail bar, ZA ZA TA reveals its unexpected delights designed to be shared and savoured amongst friends.
The 240-seat venue spans across a bar and kitchen (exclusive of adjacent event spaces) inspired by the vibrant Tel Aviv dining scene. Award-winning interior designers, Luchetti Krelle, have created a casual yet refined dining experience inspired by the conservatories of the Victorian era to nooks reminiscent of 1940s cocktail glamour. Designer Rachel Luchetti says of the vision behind ZA ZA TA, ‘Details from traditional Queenslander architecture are layered into the Victorian-inspired interiors, giving a strong sense of local identity with an international counterpoint to ensure travellers and locals alike will feel welcomed and truly at home.’
Executive Chef Roy Ner and Head Chef Dario Manca have created a menu that showcases the melting pot of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, weaving in global cooking techniques – from French to Japanese. Israeli-born Ner says, ‘We’re having fun making soulful and dynamic Middle Eastern. Each recipe has a lot of heritage, we’re taking centuries-old recipes and bringing them back to life.’
Head Chef Dario Manca and Executive Chef Roy Ner
Starting out with snacks and raw options, the menu highlights include wagyu bits, pickled sugarloaf cabbage and challah toastie; fried goat’s cheese pretzels with house lamb bacon and yolk aioli; and beetroot pastrami with smoked rye and horseradish.
Dishes are all to be shared and highlight Middle Eastern flavours and Queensland’s local produce. ‘Brisbane’s dining scene is buzzing with the news of ZA ZA TA and the calibre of the kitchen team,’ says Billy Bentley of Suncoast Fresh. ‘As a Queensland-based supplier we pride ourselves on our relationships with local growers, in turn providing chefs with that link who serve the true journey from farm, to kitchen, to plate.’
Small plates feature hummus with abalone mushroom shawarma and semolina pita, with the option to add shaved foie gras; Fremantle octopus, camel ‘nduja, eggplant and walnut; as well as charcoal rainbow trout, cucumber and chilli salsa, and herring tahini. Sam McCrystal, from the Fish Factory, has worked closely with the ZA ZA TA kitchen in preparation for opening. He says, ‘The team has a deep passion for locally sourced and sustainable seafood from locally sourced Mooloolaba ocean king prawns, Moreton Bay cuttlefish, Goulburn River rainbow trout and Queensland yellowfin tuna.’
Vegetarian and seafood dishes have a strong presence on the ZA ZA TA menu, but that’s not to say carnivores will be left hungry. Maremma spiced duck breast with black garlic and foie jus, and charcoal short rib, bullhorn and coriander jus are among the larger plates on offer, and all are the perfect accompaniment to one of six house-made breads daily. The Yemenite butter bread with oxheart tomato and zhug chilli is a must-have, whether you’re dining in the restaurant or at the bar.
ZA ZA TA’s bar is where your experience can start or finish (at 2am), or enjoy a couple of nibbles. It’s high energy with a curated music collection and DJs on select nights. The drinks menu by cocktail specialist and Area Food and Beverage Director Jared Thibault evokes long nights in far-flung destinations with exotic twists on classic cocktails. Piquing interest are cold-pressed juice cocktails, set to be paired with the best Middle Eastern spices from the famed markets of Jaffa.
Jared Thibault says guests can expect, ‘Flavours and aromas of ancient Arabian spice routes; settle in and enjoy plantation rums plus Mediterranean-style gin and tonics. The exotic flavours extend to ZA ZA TA’s non-alcoholic options, which include house-made Limonana, refreshingly blended with mint and dehydrated lemon, and Hibiscus Rose Iced Tea.’
Spirits are infused with fruits commonly used in Israeli cooking, including persimmon, fig and cumquat to bring rich layers of flavour, balanced with zingy fresh juices, including pomegranate, lime and mandarin. House-made za’atar bitters bring savoury bite. Locally sourced citrus fruits and exotic botanicals – including pistachio demerara, cinnamon grilled pineapple and dehydrated cumquats – are the perfect finishing touch.
Welcome to ZA ZA TA, a place where wonders never cease.
ZA ZA TA
(07) 3253 6999