Zaatar W Zeit

Zaatar W Zeit is exactly what Sheikh Zayed Road needed – a dash of fast-paced, youthful and modern Beirut. Eschewing the more common Lebanese restaurant styles – gold-plated formality or neon-backed tack – the first UAE branch (14 more are planned) of this Beirut-based chain is a breath of fresh air. The heavily-cartooned interior creates a convivial vibe, and the place seems to be permanently packed – we visited only two weeks after opening and there wasn’t a spare seat to be had. Anybody who’s eaten at the Al Reef bakery – a world away from ZWZ in terms of character and clientele – will be familiar with the nature of this simple and nourishing fare: bundles of bread and cheese from the oven, some Lebanese pizzas and chocolate-smothered flatbreads, coffees, soft drinks and ‘freshly zweezed’ fruit juices. The lahme beajine is a rolled-up baked flatbread full of nicely-spiced minced meat and tomatoes, while the jebneh halloumi is stuffed full of squeaky cheese. The sweet of tooth should try the chocolat w moze wrap, devilishly stuffed with chocolate spread and sliced banana. The service on our visit was extremely friendly but very confused, with our orders occasionally ending up on the table next to us, and everything happening at a very slow pace. Since ZWZ is open around the clock, the cooked eggs with beef ham and cheese option makes for a perfect cholesterol-charged start to the day. And if you’re visiting at lunchtime we suggest the hot chicken wrap with lettuce, tomato and pickles. It goes without saying that you should avoid Zaatar W Zeit if you don’t like white bread – there’s barely anything else on the menu. Otherwise it’s well worth spending a couple of hours at this buzzing new café.

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