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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Mankoushe Cafe

December 2, 2012


Brunswick East's Bob Dylan-blasting Lebanese bakery, Mankoushe, has expanded to a courtyard out the back and a more refined cafe next door. It's possible to order their cheap-as-chips wood-fired delights from any vantage point, but the cafe has a whole lot more for your consideration.

Breakfast includes beans, Turkish bread, vegetables and eggs, while lunch introduces pickles, cheese, salads and vegetables stuffed with spices, grains and more vegetables. It's all immensely veg-friendly, with a few already-vegan options and an explicit invitation to "please let us know if you are vegan or gluten free or have allergies". It seems that coeliacs might even get a look in this time!


We settled in for some serious grazing. The arnabite salata ($9) was a sprightly mix of fried cauliflower, parsley, hazelnuts and raisins served at room temperature, equal parts sweet and savoury.


The ajje ($10.20) are tender zucchini fritters dressed up with more parsley, mint and onion than I'd be game to try and they're better for it.


You would never catch me tossing Jersey caramels into a spinach salad, but the huge dates in the sbanikh salata ($9) had a similar effect and I loved it. A liberal dose of salt, pepper and olive oil just barely restrained the sweetness.


The meal was brought back to earth with some hefty burgal pumpkin dumplings (kibe iras, $21) stuffed with spinach, chickpeas and pine nuts, served with a scoop of babaganoush and garlicky yoghurt silverbeet stems.


As we leaned back and meditated on our full and happy bellies, one of the owners stopped at our table to chat (he knows our weakness for their bread and our couple of previous fawning blog posts). He told us how they make their own pickles and change the menu around fortnightly to suit supplies. The cafe has recently begun opening on Friday and Saturday nights for dinner, they have a liquor license in the works and plans to build a commercial kitchen out back. (What they're doing without one is pretty damn wonderful anyway!)


They kindly offered us two crumbly-buttery-nutty morsels from the sweets display on the house to finish our meal.

We're now champing to return for breakfast. Though there's no French toast, pancakes or other sweets on the board, I'd be glad to start the day with a bowl of Mankoushe's beans and a sneaky sable.

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We've blogged about the Mankoushe Bakery here and here.

The Mankoushe Cafe's opening night was blogged on Louf what you eat, and it's since received positive reviews on two Munch and Taste and Explore.
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Mankoushe Cafe
323 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9078 9223
veg starters $7-13.50, veg main $21

Accessibility: There's a small step up through a narrow-ish entry but everything's more generously spaced once you're in. We ordered at the table and paid at a low-ish counter, and didn't visit the toilets.

6 comments:

  1. Nice post :) everything looks healthy and wholesome! I've never heard of this cafe even though I go to Lygon St quite a bit hehe will need to check it out soon :)

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    1. Hi Daisy! It does feel very wholesome, even if there's olive oil everywhere. :-)

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  2. Drooool...! Haven't been to Mankoushe for ages, will definitely head there again soon.

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  3. Good to know they may have things I can eat, had some amazing salads at a Lebanese place in brisbane which were actually kind of inspiring.

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    1. K - it should be stuff that we can work out how to make at home, too!

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