This is one that I said I would be back to and here I was today. Since my original visit they have opened up a new location on South Granville, that was actually our original destination, however given the traffic and the proximity of their original location to my home, I decide to save myself the road rage and pull up to the one on Commercial Drive instead.
To read about the decor and the restaurant’s setting visit the link below, for the post of my original visit.
We began at the bar and moved to a table once one cleared, not that it was the best decision. We ordered enough food for four but only had a table for two. The result, dishes coming to us one after another, and no room for a plate to eat off of. I ended up balancing one on the ledge of the table, over my lap and spilling the contents over myself, all over the floor. I broke a plate in the process and interrupted everyone else dining around me in doing so. The lesson I learned: don’t be greedy, order less or eat faster. Better yet, ask for a table for four to be able to house it all comfortably.
We made it in just at 6pm, the cut off of happy hour, however our server was kind enough to extend the discounted prices if we ordered right away and we did. One of each of their discounted menu items and a couple of their cocktails on special. They were items we were planning on getting anyways, and this way we ended up saving ourselves at least $15. Including trying the “Lebanese tacos” that weren’t even on their menu.
The “Makali” is the one to get, one of their more popular plates. Deep fried cauliflower in a pomegranate molasses. You expect it to be crispy, but instead it’s more soggy with the syrup pooling at the bottom. You also don’t get any of the sweetness you’d expect from the fruit, but instead a strong lemon citrus tone. It wasn’t the greatest, but something about it kept you going back for more until the bowl was empty, then thinking when would you come back for some more next time. But texture-wise I wanted them crispy with the molasses as a dip instead of a dressing.
The one I will always get and recommend is their hummus trio. They make all their hummus in house and it is always served slightly below room temperature. They are also the creamiest that I have ever had. The flavours of two of two rotate seasonally, with their “original” always included as a good benchmark. Today the former was a very savoury “sun dried tomato and basil” and a sweet “”strawberry lemonade”. The former was very herbaceous, more basil that anything else. It started almost spicy and ends light, making it a good transition into the sweeter latter. The “”strawberry lemonade” was definitely a dessert hummus, accurate to its name. It was like the summer time beverage in tang with sour lemon to start and sugary candy crystals to finish. It also had the texture of a smoothie without ever melting. Nothing you’d expect, and one you need to try a lot of to decide wherever you like it or not. I just wished that you get more pita to enjoy with it, and that they stay fluffy and warm for longer. In hindsight, I guess I could have just ordered some more, as the order only comes with two and you get plenty of the three hummuses to accompany it.
The “Lebanese tacos” were three mini tortilla rounds stacked with pickled and shredded vegetable, a salsa or spread; and either lamb sausage, falafel, or cauliflower. Basically each bite gave you a taste of a few of their other appetizers. The cauliflower being prepared just like the “Makali” cauliflower above.
The one with “Makanik” gave us a taste of their lamb sausages prepared with red wine and seven spices. They were a little on the dry side and unsubstantial like this. It left me wanting a juicy sausage to bite into, one with a crispy coating from a good grill, with all the flavours it had now.
The one with a falafel gave you their take on this popular chickpea and lentil fritter. Crunchy on the outside and a tad dry and ashy at its centre. This wasn’t my favourite for its texture.
The “Marinated prawns” were not on the happy hour menu, but with all the vegetable product above, my guest and I wanted some meat. They were made with Moroccan chermula, parsley, cumin, and cayenne. They were juicy and zesty, and quite very refreshing. Whereas I was expecting more grill and char. I enjoyed it the most paired with the rice from the dish below.
The “Riyash” was two lamb popsicles rubbed with cinnamon, turmeric, seven spices and Greek yogurt. I found isn’t didn’t pair well with the rice it came with. I found both items were on the sweeter side, where as I wanted one to balance out the other with savoury salt. The cinnamon was strong on the lamb and with the raisins and nuts this reminded me a lot of oatmeal, especially given the starchy chew of the rice.
The “Cheese rolls” came highly recommended by our server, so we got some too. They were like a spanakopita with the cheese and spinach. I am normally not a fan of them given the wilted nature of spinach, but they weren’t noticeable here and the crumbly texture and salty flavour of the cheese mix was ideal. Delicious, surrounded by the crispy flaky pastry. You didn’t really need the sauce it sat in, as it was just the same sauce that what was already heavily present in the “roll”. Instead, I wished for some plain pita. The cucumber helped to add some freshness, but there was not enough pieces to have one to chase every bite of roll with.
During this meal, everything had so much flavour to it. Normally you follow strong bites with more refreshing ones. But here everything was combating everything else with punches of similarly fragrant, yet very different flavours. The hummus was the lightest, so I could have used a side salad for balance. Where we got some help was with our happy hour $7 cocktails. The “Hibiscus bloom” was a cooling drink with fresh cucumber (you got its seeds in the brew too), their homemade hibiscus syrup, lime juice, gin and tonic.
On a following return visit, they released two new seasonal hummuses, which sounded the most exciting to date, (in my opinion). The partnering of salty and sweet with a beer flavoured hummus featuring “33 acres brewery” and a decadent “butter tart”. The former wasn’t bitter like beer, but strong and full bodied like a pint would be. The latter creamy and sweet enough to smear on a baked crust and call it a butter tart.
During this visit, we were just looking to snack so followed the above up with a bowl of their “seasonal olives” seasoned in cumin, dill, and lemon.
Which paired well with the “Batata Harra” as a starchy base. Cubed potatoes tossed in garlic and cilantro.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
My favourite place for hummus in the city. Unique interpretations and fun flavours, just like the restaurant as a whole. And they have yet to disappoint. I come in knowing what flavours I am going to get, and they deliver. The food was great, but be warned, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. With all the plates enjoyed all together, I found myself overwhelmed with flavour. So I recommend them more as a snacking spot. Small plates paired best with their artisan cocktails. Don’t deny your cravings.
2280 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4B5