18m - The cookie is not much of a Lebanese dessert. Granted. You can’t...
When Zaatar w Zeit (ZwZ) opened its first branch in Achrafieh in Sodeco in 1999, it was the after-after-party destination. Where else could you sit down and indulge in a loaded mannoucheh* at two in the morning? At a time when enjoying the traditional breakfast food meant waking up at the crack of dawn to make it to the local bakery that would opened at sunrise and close shortly after, ZwZ was beyond ground-breaking. It started a revolution. Sure waking up for a bubbling zaatar or cheese pie straight out of the oven had its special perks and made for a better reason than any to get out of bed, the prospect of being able to enjoy a freshly made mannoucheh 24/7 is as titillating now as it was over a decade ago. Fifteen local branches and a few international ones later, ZwZ is a force to be reckoned with.
Throughout the years ZwZ has reimaged the traditional Lebanese classic by developing flavours and unique combinations. They have grown their menu – going as far as serialising them – to include green salads, appetisers (what they call teazers), pizzas and desserts. Dishes served in what was fukhar (clay), but is now iron cast pans, and varied dough choices ranging from the default white to brown whole wheat to sundried tomato. Needless to say this trendsetting casual eatery now has a Redefining Light menu for the health conscious. Must eats (in no particular order and, if you can, in one go): Halloumy Sticks, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Wild Zaatar, Cheese Muttabal, Mighty Kafta, Halloumy Bacon, Baked Falafel, and Chocolate Moussecake (we’ll stop here, just short of the entire menu). Make sure to wash it all down with the lemonade or yogurt drink.
Sure the ZwZ a little expensive than its street counterpart, but you’re certain to get consistent quality every time. Too lazy to mosey on over to your nearest branch? ZwZ delivers!
The opening of this recent ZwZ branch located at the very end of Hamra Street was controversial since it would neither not serving beer or pork due to a supposed contractual agreement with the building owner. Steadfast, ZwZ did not want to pass up opening one of Beirut’s main arteries. It is Hamra after all! And there are a number of bars just minutes away that can satiate the want for alcohol. Though the terraced seating takes a little getting use to, it makes a lot more sense when the big screen comes down to project big games.
*A mannoucheh is Lebanese Arabic for a kind of pizza or wrap, traditionally made with zaatar, cheese or ground meat (also known as lahm baajine).