Melbourne casual dining meets a vibrant market in Tel Aviv – that’s what’s cooking up at plant-based South Melbourne Market eatery, Marko, as Israel’s Yonny Joseph settles in as head chef.
A disciple of Israeli cult chef Eyal Shani, Joseph worked with the celebrated chef in Israel before coming to Melbourne in 2017 to open Miznon’s first Australian outpost. In line with Shani’s philosphies, Joseph sees a beauty and potential in vegetables that most chefs reserve for the finest steak or seafood.
Today, you’ll find Joseph manning the pans at Marko, adding his signature punches of Eastern Mediterranean inspired flavours to the casual diner’s consistently colourful and seasonally-driven menu. “Marko is all about taking it back to basics with fresh, local, produce and using real ingredients to make great tasting food. It’s what I grew up eating and it’s what I still get so excited about cooking now,” says Joseph. His new season dinner menu has just launched as a compliment to the faster and more casual lunch offering, and it is a simple expression of Marko’s philosophy — “eat the market.” The first stop at dinner are the “small plates” – a mezze spread that combines fresh, spicy, zesty and salty bites of everything that is fresh at the market right now – think baba ganoush bruschetta, minted zucchini, dill potatoes and of course a plate of “little spicy things”, in-house freshly baked bread and tahini. Through the rest of the menu includes heroes like pineapple carpaccio, wild tomatoes with fried bread rouille or more substantial items like the burnt eggplant heart with fresh polenta and cherry tomatoes and the pumpkin rib with smoked tofu and
“We take inspiration from the incredible produce right on our doorstep. Dinner service is defined by the smell of eggplant, potato and pineapple caramelising over coals – it’s the kind of comfort food that you just can’t say no to,” said Joseph. Dinner can be enjoyed a la carte or as a set menu for $55. The set menu consists of the small plates plus the customers choice of one ‘catch of the day’ and ‘hot and slow’ menu item, plus dessert. “We want people to order the set menu and a glass of wine, then focus on catching up with their friends, family or partner – we can take care of everything else. We want everyone to leave feeling satisfied and cared for” says Joseph.
In line with Marko’s mission to keep things as local as possible, a series of Natural Wines curated by Le Pont South Melbourne are available to accompany the Marko At Home experience. “Marko is about fresh, simple food that is, above all else, delicious. It’s proof that you can have plant-based food and not feel like you’re missing out on anything” says owner Dehne Bingham. “Yoni’s food philosophy matches ours perfectly and we couldn’t be prouder of the food he’s putting forward”.
Marko is open Wednesday to Sunday at Site 99, South Melbourne Market, Cecil Street, South Melbourne VIC.
Dinner Is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30pm.