Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.
The phone rang for a long time. I was on the verge of hanging up.
“Hello Rumi” she answered the phone.
“Hi I have a reservation for 6 people tonight…”
“… no we don’t have a spot for 6 tonight.”
“I booked it more than a month ago”
“Under what name?”
“Stickyfingers. The gentleman I spoke to told me that 7.30pm would be the best time and he rearranged the tables accordingly.”
“No, you’re not here and we’re fully booked”
“Can you fit at least two of us in? We’ve been trying to get in for ages, that’s why I booked so far in advance.”
“What about next week”
“The week after?”
“For the next month, we can only offer a table for two from 6pm to be out before 7.30pm.”
“But YOU lost our booking - can you help us in any way?”
For months I have been reading great things about the East Brunswick restaurant Rumi. Articles about and photos of the place, the owner chef Joseph Abboud and his family, the restaurant alumni from which he hails and of course about the well-priced and delicious meals he has served, have littered the food media. But my attempts to get a taste of this for myself, has been foiled at every turn on more than one occasion.
It's frustrating as hell! I have got to the point where I am thinking that I will recreate the dishes instead at home, from the recipes I have gleaned from the papers and Gourmet Traveller. After all, having done the Greg Malouf master class, these recipes are dead easy in comparison. I can make Labneh - no problem. Meat balls, yoghurt soup with chicken dumplings and deep fried cauliflower - no worries - my pantry is full of Middle Eastern groceries from A1, fresh herbs and freshly harvested vegies from Gippsland. I have minced rare breed lamb for Kibbeh and what good Eurasian woman like myself doesn't have wonton wrappers hidden away for dumpling making?
Perhaps I shall also console myself with the MyRestaurant user reviews of Rumi and see if I can locate the new Malouf associated Mama Ganoush? Go to Arabesque, Zum Zum or perhaps we should lob in for one of Kurt Sampson's meals instead? Bring on the new Momo - it can't happen soon enough for my palate.
This year is The International Year of Rumi, declared by UNESCO to celebrate the 800th birth anniversary of Mystic Persian Poet Jelalludin Rumi, not the restaurant.
The great poet’s words and philosophy were written on themes of tolerance, openness, and the overwhelming power of universal love. His sentiments were cosmopolitan and transcended nationality, class or ethnicity.
A practicing Sufi, he had studied the Koran extensively and was already considered a mystic when he met his future master, Shamsuddin, a wandering Dervish, and progressed towards intellectual studies and philosophy. This defining moment led to his conclusion that the individual could use music, lyrics, dance and poetry in order to attain spiritual union with God.