I am sitting outside in a drive-in lane off Hindmarsh Drive around a table with the family that runs Little Mez. You wouldn’t meet a friendlier, more welcoming crew. These are the kind of folk you want to invite you home to have family dinner on their back verandah to eat all the wonderful food and hear all the stories.
A visit to their Mediterranean street food truck feels like you are doing just that.
The mouthwatering smells of marinated chicken sizzling over the grill drift out of the food truck’s service window and I am sipping a tall glass of my all-time favourite summer drink – a chilled Greek Freddo cappuccino. I didn’t think I would ever find this whipped milk, ice and coffee beverage in Australia, much less Canberra.
“It isn’t quite the same as what you would get in Athens,” John says as a disclaimer. “There is just something magical about the milk over there.”
This version is pretty darn close, though! Yum!
John and Monica have been serving tastes of the Mediterranean out of Little Mez for a little over three years and they love what they do.
Their ‘souvas’ – Greek-style kebabs served in warm pita bread – sell like hotcakes. Several breakfast offerings, sharing boxes, and café-style coffees and shakes populate the menu too.
“We’re really blessed in that we would come up with ideas for our menu, and the feedback has been so awesome since day one,” John says.
“That in itself has been a driving force for us to keep going and keep innovating. It is about tingling your tastebuds.”
John and Monica are passionate about cooking the food they would make you at their home. It’s flavoursome, made from scratch and healthy – they even say their classic desserts have less sugar than they traditionally have.
“We offer a regular egg and bacon roll but then we also do one with a twist. We add za’atar, which is the Vegemite of the Middle East, and feta,” Monica explains.
“Our Mez boxes have become incredibly popular. They are a way of trying a little of everything and sharing it with a friend or two.”
I order a lunch to go, selecting a Middle Eastern souva with the addition of a lamb kofta and two of the house-made desserts.
This wrap includes ripe tomatoes and avocado with generous slabs of za’atar-fried halloumi wrapped up in a still-warm flatbread.
First, I must tip my hat to that beautiful souvlaki bread. Crisp and golden on the edges, it is soft and malleable and perfect for all those fillings. A luxurious amount of fried halloumi is in my wrap. Tender, herb-infused lamb kofta is an inspired addition to this souva.
Monica has encouraged me to put the souva in my toasted sandwich maker when I get home. By the time I get around to doing that, only half the wrap remains, but toasting it makes it all the more scrumptious.
I bite into the first dessert, which looks like a cookie with a chocolate centre. It turns out to be a delicate pastry soaked in fragrant syrup. The baklava is impressive too. Unlike bought baklava, which is mostly pastry, this one has a perfect ratio of filling to pastry to juiciness. Baklava perfection! Neither of these desserts is overly sweet.
The upcoming menu will add suggestions that encourage customers to challenge their palates a little.
“We can recommend that they add a couple of flavour tweaks or add-ons to make something good taste amazing,” Monica says.
While the menu is grab-and-go street food, everything is made to order so it won’t appear instantly. If you have a limited lunch break, text your order to 0416 761 141 to save time.
Little Mez is located at 91 Hindmarsh Dr in Phillip. It is open weekdays from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. It also reopens on Friday and Saturday at 5:30 pm.