Kaak Al Manara

by Jannat & Pawan Manghnani on August 21st, 2016

About

Ka’ak Al Manara – Lebanese Canteen is the first limited menu, quick service ka’ak, salad and soup canteen in the world. Taking inspiration from the streets of Beirut, Ka’ak Al Manara menu is centered around sweet baked sesame bread known as Ka’ak, a nation-wide popular street dish of Lebanon. Ka’ak Al Manara “Traditional” ka’ak can be enjoyed with a wide variety of sweet and savory spreads, while ka’ak “Specials” are stuffed with hearty protein recipes hand-picked from favorite canteens across Beirut. And no Lebanese food can be complete without a touch from home, with daily selections of salads and soups delivered to Ka’ak Al Manara canteens straight from mom’s kitchen. I really like their motto which is: "If it tastes and feels like home, we know we’ve got it right."

Review

We had the immense pleasure of being invited by the co-ownwer of Kaa'ak Al Manara, which is located in Mercato Mall, in the food court. We swiped through the menu on Zomato and immediately agreed for the tasting because everything on there looked SO good. 

So anyways, we made our way there for dinner where we were graciously welcomed and accompanied by Mr. Ziyad Ayass, who revealed how Ka'ak Al Manara started as a pop-up restaurant at the Ripe Market for two years where it gained much popularity, so much so that even the news channels covered it! We saw a few instagrams from the event last year, and could gauge with the queue that people are obsessed with Ka'ak.

So what is a Ka'ak?
Ka'ak Is a flatbread baked in the oven and is often topped with sesame seeds for flavour! There are a bunch of varieties that exist in the same bread type which variate in accordance to the geographical location. Al Manara is a street in Lebanon, where Mr. Ziyad Ayass, grew up and has fond memories eating a Ka'ak everytime he saw one! 

He even said that after he opened up the place, a lot of fellow Lebanese friends came upto him and went like "of course this is a brilliant idea", considering a Ka'ak is only as famous as the manakeesh back home! 

Drinks

Bonjus:
We were so thrilled to finally see this triangular packaged drink here, which apparently is a Lebanese origin fruit flavoured drink, only because our Lebanese friends couldn't stop raving about it or snapchatting about it! In India, we have something similar of course and we go cray when we see that particular brand and totally get their emotion! Quite refreshing definitely.
Fresh Lemonade:
I don't think I can get myself to eat anymore without having a chilled drink on me, and this freshly made lemon cooler was perfect! 
Nescafe with Condensed Milk:
Quite random to be having coffee at night, but we could not get ourselves to put the cup down because it tasted so good! Apparently even this drink is a staple of the "street food culture" back home for them, and we get why! Yum.

Food

Ka'ak Originals:​
Light savory fillings traditionally served with ka'ak for generations. Toasted to perfection and best enjoyed with sprinkles of dry za'atar, sumac or chili paste add-ons. Vegetable toppings also available for selection. Served in 22 cm ka’ak bread.
Labneh:
Who does not love Labneh and bread? This one came with freshly cut cucumbers and olives and mint leaves along with some sprinkling of Zaatar. It felt so healthy and guilt-free digging into this! One of the most preferred sandwiches on our table. 
Akawai Cheese:
One of the best Kaa'ak on the table that day! It seemed like it would be dense and heavy but it wasn't. It was literally like a grilled cheese sandwich done better! A must have. 
Turkey & Cheese:
This one consisted of Turkey melt with a mixture of Akawi, cheddar cheese & chili paste, grilled and sandwiched between the gorgeous Ka'ak bread! No complaints, we just grabbed these sandwiches by the mouthful and devoured every bite. 
Zaa'tar and Oil:
Zaatar is such a staple spice in the whole of UAE. Everyone who even grew up here has had Zaatar and Labneh as a part of their food routine, irrespective or cast or religion! This one was a thick layer of Zaatar sandwiched with some freshly cut cucumber and mint leaves for extra freshness! A vegetarian dream, for sure! 
Ka'ak Specials:​
​​Hearty sandwich recipes hand-picked from their favorite street canteens across Beirut city and adapted to create inspired and non-conventional ka'ak fillings. Served in 18 cm ka’ak bread.
Beef Shawarma:
Moving on to the specials, we were lost for choice because everything on the menu looked so good. Mr. Ziyad decided two of his favourites and we were not complaining! One of them was the Beef shawarma, which as the name suggests had a filling of beef shreds, tahina, onion, tomato, parsley and pickles. The filling, although similar tasted very different and original because of the bread! It was like an amazing twist to the same old filling. 
Chicken Garlic:
Garlic paste laden chicken, with onions, lettuce and some peppery mix. My wife's favourite Ka'ak hands down, and I know this because she could not stop talking about this on our ride home!  
Quinoa Salad:
For the non carb lovers, or healthy eaters, this Quinoa salad is everything! Served with freshly cut parsley and tomatoes it is dressed in their in-house molasses dressing which adds the much needed punch to it! 

Desserts

​It doesn't get much sweeter than warm and melted sweet stuffed ka'ak. Take your pick from our favorites including the infamous Knafeh ka'ak or the notoriously sweet Nutella Halawa ka'ak. Served in 18 cm ka’ak bread.
Nutella Halawa:
Nutella and halawa spread mix, sandwiched and grilled to perfection in the lovely and very addictive Ka'ak bread! It was like a rainbow in our hands. Loved it!
Kunafa:
Arabic cheese pie with sweet syrup sauce. 
I am a big fan of Kunafa as it is, and it was interesting to have it sandwiched in a bread. So the legend goes like- because of the melting nature of the sweet that is Kunafa, it was hard for people to have it on the go, so the easiest way for them was to sandwich it between the bread and enjoy the sweet without compromising on the fun. Makes sense? And now it has become a wonderful discovery for everyone to savour! 

Rating

​Ambiance –
Good

Value for Money –
Excellent

Service & Hospitality –
Good

Quality & Taste of Food –
Excellent

Cost –
About AED40-50 Per PAX

Cuisine –
Lebanese, Middle-Eastern

Phone –
04 2582003

Address –
​1st Floor, Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1, Dubai

Verdict

We LOVED every second of ours at Ka'ak Al Manara! The food is just excellent and different, and we are quite lucky to have met its owner and see just with how much passion he has invested in his restaurant and the beliefs that come with it! We definitely think it is the next big thing, and before you end up stumbling upon any copy cats elsewhere, do experience the original Ka'ak and we promise, you wont be disappointed! 

Power Couple & Lifestyle Bloggers Jannat Manghnani (@PriyankaVidhani) & Pawan Manghnani (@AyaashPaw) love food. It's the only thing they eat. They embark on a unique adventure every evening trying to break free from the routine while soaking in a new experience, well detailed into blogs so friends & family can benefit from them. Read about the entire experience by checking out their various blogs. Remember, A drop of ink may make a million think.


Posted in Food ~ The Tasterpreneur    Tagged with halawa, kaak, lebanese, street food, manara


1 Comments

miska - August 21st, 2016 at 7:00 AM
Gorgeoussssss

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