I’ve never been to the Middle East, but as we sit in Taboon feasting on its fresh salads and smoky grilled meats, I gain a little glimpse of its culture.
Since its opening ten years ago, Taboon at Robina has established a reputation for fresh, vibrant modern Middle Eastern cuisine. Consistency has been the key to its success, together with the freshness of its food.
Owner Steven Isaacs brings his experience as a restaurateur and manager both in Sydney and the Middle East to Taboon in Robina, more recently expanding to a smaller shop in The Pines, Elanora.
There’s attention to detail in the decor, from the painted laneway beside the entrance, the stone taboon oven that forms the centrepiece and heart of the restaurant, to the authentic hand-painted tagines.
But it’s the food that brings diners back to Taboon; the freshness and authenticity of hand-prepared food made daily. Pastries and flatbreads (so essential to this cuisine) are baked daily on the stone floor of the taboon, dips and desserts are handmade, all meat is Halal and food is prepared and cooked to order.
Just as Middle Eastern culture centres on the oven and the bread it produces, so Taboon is the ideal place to meet and share food. A trio of dips with pita bread, small salad, and pizza or main course could easily serve two people, the menu made to be shared.
Pizzas are around $20 and main course dishes (flame grilled meat and Moroccan tagines) $25 – $30. The mixed plate for two is a generous introduction to the restaurant’s food, including several different skewered meats and shooftas, and a tasty fatoush salad, or you can choose your own combination of dishes.
We’ve dined at Taboon on several occasions: for lunch, where we ate bowl food on the run, and a week night dinner of Bedouin salad, fried haloumi with date chutney and pita.
Dessert is a must, either fresh baklava or the Taboon trifle – though not the prettiest dessert we’ve seen, it’s surely one of the most flavoursome, bringing flavours from another world – a wine glass filled with baklava, berries, house made malabi (orange blossom cream) and pistachios. Totally hypnotic!
Lunch options are well-priced with lots of choice. Try the Taboon lunch bowl consisting of warm Egyptian rice with meat for a well-priced yet filling lunch, or pita sandwiches, pizzas, salads or mezze plates, again with many options suitable to share.
Perhaps our favourite meal at Taboon is weekend breakfast, which gives a different take on morning fare: Sahklab porridge with spiced apples and almond kadaiff, Shukshooka (eggs in spicy tomato sauce) with Middle Eastern salad and pita, or Baked eggs on zahtar pita with Middle Eastern salad and yoghurt sauce – my idea of a fabulous breakfast.
Taboon caters well for food intolerances and preferences. It’s halal, with many gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options available.
Little wonder that Taboon has developed a firm following of clientele from Byron to Brisbane for its sensationally fresh, authentic ethnic dining experience. Be sure to book!
Easy T Centre, 514 Christine Ave., Robina Ph: 07 5562 5005
Open: Mon 10am – 4pm; Tues – Thurs 10am – 8pm, Fri – Sat 10am – 9pm, Sun 10am – 8pm