If you had to ask me which cuisine was my ultimate favourite, it would take me at least a few days/months/years to decide. I mean I do have my unhealthy love for Persian food, but how could I push aside the amazing fish tacos at any Mexican restaurant. What about the crispy aromatic duck that is so prominent at Chinese restaurants, or the simplicity of a steak at an American establishment. See, it’s difficult. But if you asked me which was my least favourite, easy, it’s Lebanese food. It just seemed sooooo boring to me with the tabbouleh and hummus and taouks, until I visited Zeit and Zaatar.
Zeit and Zaatar is a lebanese bakery based in Shepherds Bush. I had had heard loads about their freshly baked Lebanese “pizzas” a.k.a manakish, but it just never became a priority on my list. One day, I fancied something different, something cheap, and something quick. I put my unreasonable hatred aside and made my way over to Shepherds Bush.
Feeling peckish, we went for 5 different types of manakish: za’atar with labneh, kafta, mohammarah & cheese, basterma with cheese, and honey & cheese. After a short wait, our manakish feast arrived, piping hot from the firin.
- Za’atar & Labneh: The most popular and common manakish you’ll find is the traditional za’atar, a blend of wild thyme herbs. I normally find this to be quite dry, so opted for labneh, a thick yoghurt, to add some moisture.
- Kafta: A plain manakish topped with lightly seasoned lamb mince with chillies and peppers. Although simple, it was still a hit.
- Mohammarah: Mohammarah is a tomato based sauce, cooked with herbs and a touch of chilli, so Zeit and Zaatar version was reminiscent of a margherita pizza. Fantastic when served warm.
- Basterma: This manakish arrived with thin slices of cured beef. basterma, which was deliciously salty and had a nice crust from the fire oven. It added a nice textural contrast to the creamy cheese.
- Honey & Cheese: The honey added a delectable sweetness to the salty cheese, and made a change to all the savoury manakishs we had eaten.
Served warm, this thin manakish arrived topped with a generous helping of nutella and pistachios. Delicious, delicious, and delicious!
The total bill for two amounted to a measly £25, so approx £12.50 each with drinks included. As great as the food and price was, the service at Zeit and Zaatar was atrocious. Yes, the food arrived speedily, but the kitchen staff were rude, arrogant, and I’m still surprised I’m writing this post about their establishment. To keep it brief, they wanted ME to pay THEM for me taking photos/videos of their work. But, I do not want to deter anyone from going there as the food really is fantastic and worth a visit.
Click here for their website!