We've had an eye on Zaatar since it opened a couple of years ago, and we've noticed it earning seals of approval from Cate's Cates, Green Gourmet Giraffe and Veganopoulous in that time. We squeezed our first visit in before their 8pm closing last Sunday night, following an afternoon gig at the Post Office Hotel. We'd spent the duration steadfastly resisting the myriad bowls of fries floating around us, focusing on the falafel to come.
The set-up is accessible and family-friendly at Zaatar, with clear display cabinets and counter ordering, dozens of quick-wipe tables that can be rearranged by customers, and a grin on the face of every staff member. Dietary indicators weren't marked on the menu, but there's plenty for vegos to choose from. Given that they make their own bread products on site, coeliacs might be more wary.
We shared a combination meal of 3 mezza with dip and salad ($8.50), which was excellent value. The last falafel in the display was still pretty good, and the mini cheese pie sat safely between the tasteless ones at Tiba's and the A1 gold standard. The pumpkin kibbeh held a surprise filling of chickpeas and spices, and was even better dipped into the super-smooth, tahini-heavy humus. The fattoush was fresh and on the acidic side.
It was all upstaged just one bite into the vegetarian pizza ($6). I've never had a sweeter, fresher crust! The grated haloumi was springy and salty, and in between were crunchy arcs of caspicum, discs of tomato and rings of red onion. Even the olives failed to bother me, such was the perfection of this Middle Eastern-style pizza.
We hear good things about the breakfasts here too, but it'll be tough to tear me away from another bread-based order. Either way, you can expect us to report on a daylit Zaatar meal next time we're in Coburg.
Fellow veg bloggers Green Gourmet Giraffe and Veganopoulous have already given Zaatar positive reviews. It's also won fans on Cate's Cates, Melbourne Cafes Photo Blog, Eat And Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Die(t)!, Howie's Melbourne Food Blog and grazing panda. Consider the Sauce and Food, Eat, Repeat thought it was just OK.
365 Sydney Rd, Coburg
Accessibility: Zaatar seems to have put some thought into it! The entry is flat, wide and opens automatically. Tables are moderately spaced, and the staff don't seem to mind shifting them around to accommodate groups. Displayed food is at low-medium height. We ordered and paid at a low-medium height counter, and food was brought to our table. Toilets are gendered and include a third unisex fully accessible option.