When choosing a rating for a review, countless considerations come into play when deciding on the final verdict.
It obviously needs to reflect how excellent or disappointing the food, service and overall experience is. Extra points are won or lost along the way, whether that be sand in the kale or a forgotten dish.
This rating system also means a no-frills neighbourhood restaurant is as worthy of a high score as is the hottest new spot with a celebrated chef.
The Prophet in East Vic Park was recommended to me with rave reviews about eight years ago. The authentic Lebanese restaurant has been serving generous plates of Middle Eastern dishes since 2001.
It doesn’t have the latest fine stemmed wine glasses, Instagrammable interiors or terrazzo tables. It’s BYO, you have to email your booking through and up until COVID hit, it was cash only.
What it does have is consistently delicious food, packed tables and great service. The happiness and eagerness of our waiter on the weekend was infectious. Oh, and they drop off a plate of free pickles, garlic sauce and piled basket pita when you first sit down. Extra point rewarded there.
We started with the go-to Lebanese classic, falafel ($18.50).
I don’t know exactly how they construct theirs, but they’re so much lighter and less dense that so many I’ve tried. The deep fried mounds of deliciousness are also covered in moreish tahini sauce I’d like to drizzle on everything I eat.
The arnabeet ($21), or deep fried cauliflower, is also swimming in the delicious tangy tahini sauce, and is so soft that it melts when you eat it.
Bat-Injan ($24.50) was a plate of thickly cut eggplant, covered in – you guessed it – the tahini sauce as well as a good sprinkle of sumac and herbs. The only slight fault was that is probably needed an extra minute frying to get the super-soft eggplant flesh we know and love.
To break up the deep fried goodies, the lentils and rice ($19.50) is a tasty dish topped with crispy fried onions and yogurt sauce, and a great accompaniment to the vegetables.
A plate of silky smooth hummus ($14) is another must and rounded off the meal perfectly (with a little to spare for lunch the next day).
While I only get to The Prophet once or twice a year, it is consistently delicious and would recommend it any day of the week.
The Prophet Lebanese Cafe
Address: 907A Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park
The verdict: A great BYO spot serving up generous plates of moreish and delicious Middle Eastern food with great service.