Za Za Ta has opened in The Emporium, a precinct situated in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. The 240-seat Tel Aviv inspired bar and kitchen blends Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food and drink.
Executive chef Roy New and head chef Daria Manca have created menu that showcases Middle Eastern and Mediterranean with global cooking techniques, from French to Japanese.
Snacks and raw options include Wagyu bits, pickled sugar loaf cabbage and challah toastie; fried goats cheese pretzels, with house lamb bacon and yolk aioli; and beetroot pastrami with smoked rye and horseradish.
Small plates feature hummus umami with abalone mushroom shawarma, semolina pita, and the option to add shaved foie gras; Fremantle octopus, camel nduja, eggplant, walnut; and charcoal rainbow trout, cucumber and chilli salsa, herring tahini.
Vegetarian and seafood dishes have a strong presence on the ZA ZA TA menu, but that’s not to stay carnivores will be left hungry. Selecting larger plates; try the Maremma spiced duck breast with black garlic and foie jus; or Charcoal short rib, bullhorn and coriander jus is a must. All the perfect accompaniment to one of six house made breads daily; the Yemenite butter bread with ox heart tomato, and zhug chili is a must-have whether you’re dining in restaurant or at the bar.
“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,” says Ner, who was born in Israel.
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 produce supplier 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.”
Sam McCrystal, from the Fish Factory has worked closely with the Za Za Ta kitchen in preparation for opening. “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,” he says.
Twisted classics feature on the drinks menu, developed by cocktail specialist and area food and beverage director Jared Thibault. Among the suite of innovative tipples, are cold-pressed juice cocktails, set to be paired with the Middle Eastern spices from markets of Jaffa.
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 kumquat to bring rich layers of flavour, balanced with zingy fresh juices including pomegranate, lime and mandarin. House-made Za’tar bitters brings savoury bite. Garnishes are locally-sourced citrus fruits and international botanicals including pistachio demerara, cinnamon grilled pineapple and dehydrated kumquats are the perfect finishing touch.
The 240 seat venue was imagined by award-winning interior designers, Luchetti Krelle. “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,” says Rachel Luchetti.
The Queenslander venue has been sectioned in a number of areas, each with individual purpose and personality. At the building’s front is The Parlour — a stately, nostalgic bar referencing a 1940s cocktail armoire. The Library is located at the rear of the venue. Behind reclaimed lead light doors is a lounge space featuring Lacroix carpet with an overscaled Persian pattern. The quirky, lavish spaces are filled with eclectic vintage furniture from all over Queensland.
The heart of Za Za Ta is The Conservatory. A casual yet refined dining experience inspired by the iconic conservatories of the Victorian era with a steel and glass façade, tessellated tile floor and ceiling with painted trellis panelling. Wrought iron furniture is juxtaposed with velvet upholsteries. A vintage kitchen box bench seat is stationed at the central communal table, and galvanised steel trims and washed plywood furniture pieces contribute to the warm and wholesome atmosphere.