I'm a lover of multicultural events, street art, food, nutrition and living life! Chef and .
Published April 9th 2013
A word of warning, this place is easy to miss but once found, it's hard to resist! Positioned in a quiet section of Lygon Street, Brunswick East in between Victoria Street and Albert Street, Manhoushe is well worth the hunt. When you're in this vicinity, just follow your nose and be led by the waft of delicious Middle Eastern pies being baked in a traditional wood fired oven.
Once inside, you immediately feel a sense of warmth and comfort, as if you've just arrived at your favourite relative's home. The owners have done an amazing job of replicating the much loved Fouren or Middle Eastern Bakery, of their homeland, Lebanon. With the sounds of legendary Middle Eastern artists playing, the buzz of the workers and the smell of delectable morsels being baked, you are immediately transported to a local village bakery in the streets of Lebanon.
The décor is relaxed, welcoming and a little retro. After a recent renovation and extension to the shop next door, Mankoushe now comprises of three sections: Mezze Bar featuring home-style cooking to the left, Bakery to the right and a walkway down the middle, adjoining the two shops and leading to the courtyard out back.
You will certainly be spoilt for choice with the many tasty creations available on the menu. We opt to dine in the bakery on this occasion; the menu comprising of a large selection of pies with interesting, well thought out topping combinations. There are many fresh vegetarian and meat options available, from the more traditional fillings such as Zatar (herb), Jibne Haloumi (cheese) and Lahme (meat) to more creative combos like the Kafta: minced meat with fresh parsley, onion, spices topped with tomato and mayo (pictured) and Kelo Khodra: housemade tomato and mushroom sauce topped with onion, asparagus, artichoke and Jadoule cheese.
Many of the creations feature herbs and vegetables grown in their own garden, whose bounty is reflected in the weekly specials. Their commitment to using quality ingredients is so very evident by the delicious goodness of the food produced in their kitchen, all while maintaining a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour. Prices in the bakery vary from $3 - $15 for more complex offerings. There is also the option of having your pies made with organic Spelt flour for an extra $2.50, making them an ideal option for wheat or gluten sensitive patrons.
End the meal on a sweeter note with some of their housemade Middle Eastern sweets or a desert pie such as Halawa – soft halva with pistachio. Traditional drinks including Arabic coffee and Arabian tea will help to complete the experience.
The Mezze Bar opens for weekend breakfasts and end-of-week dinners, offering home-style seasonal dishes in the form of small sharing plates. They also have a BYO licence for the ideal casual dining experience.