The middle-eastern bakery delights of Mankoushe tease me daily on my regular commute to and from the city. Countless times I’ve been wandering along Lygon Street in my spare time and stopped with whiplash urgency to peruse the menu and gaze longingly towards the wood-fired oven churning out waves of soft bready wonders.
We wandered into Mankoushe on a Saturday afternoon (unwittingly just before the afternoon close, but the staff were kind enough not to mention it or pressure us to leave) and sat down with a $2.50 whack of Turkish coffee. It’s challenging, rich and bitter with satisfying thickness both in body and flavour. It’s a great place to sit outside, musing over a coffee while the parade of Brunswick hipsters amble awkwardly up and down Lygon street.
If you’ve never had labneh before you’ve only been living half a life. The thick, tangy goat’s milk yoghurt is a dream – the perfect accomplice for cucumber, mint and soft doughy wrappings. Think of it as a collection of your favourite dips rolled up into one comprehensively tasty package.
If you’re in the mood for something warmer, the saroukh is also rather smashing. Creamy french cream cheese, melted into haloumi with olives: it’s almost like a more subtle calzone but with soft cushions of bread instead of chewy pizza dough. For lovers of cheese, you can’t go wrong here. As we made our way home, I couldn’t help regretting not ordering a second one to take with me. I guess that’s kind of the best recommendation I can give, isn’t it?
Mankoushe is a tasty, unique offering for the location and the prices are effortlessly reasonable. Would undoubtedly nom again.