Home-grown spaces. That’s something people say over and over in a city where there really might be an equal number of franchises as there are local owned stores. Some of these local spots have built a name for themselves over the years and have become an institution in their own right, while others are struggling to survive among the many international brands that are constantly flooding Dubai. It’s a constant battle. A lot of us that grew up here know of a few places we loved as kids that had to close down because they couldn’t compete with the P.F Changs and Cheesecake Factories of the world. Some however, make it. This restaurant is a place I have a good feeling about and really hope (and kinda know) will be around for a long, long time!
Mantoushe means “to take a bite”, said Sophia Sleiman, owner and the amazing food scientist behind this little home-grown eatery in JLT. I had the pleasure of chatting with her when I was recently there for lunch; she knows her food and the passion she has for her restaurant shows from the minute you start speaking with her!
When we sat down at one of the tables outside to enjoy the beautiful afternoon, I noticed that over time, the inside was buzzing with people on their laptops, who were enjoying a quick bite while they worked away. The menu is pretty intense – you can either make your own wraps and or pick from their menu. Given we were on lunch break, the “make your own” option would send us down a rabbit hole so we decided to pick a few wraps off the menu. We didn’t know what to expect, the first words that came out of our mouths as we ate was that it all just tasted very fresh. We couldn’t put our finger on why but nothing about it tasted bad for you. Here is everything we devoured that afternoon:
My co-worker tasted one of the beef wraps (since I don’t eat beef and she was to explain everything to me in detail). She tried the Steakmous – a wrap with steak, spicy potato, hummos, pine nuts, tomato and roasted garlic sauce. Her feedback, which came in the form of cryptic mono-syllables (because she would rather eat than talk) was that it was a most unique and delicious combo to have in a wrap and a total must try.
I opted for the buffalo chicken wrap because well. Its buffalo chicken – duh! This wrap includes chicken, baby spinach, spring onion, ranch dressing and a homemade buffalo sauce. That buffalo sauce was so good, I suggested they start a little wings corner. Or you know, sell the sauce to me so that I can start my own wings corner.
Mantoushe makes everything they can in-house. Ketchup, buffalo sauce, peanut butter. Sophia told me that if there was the possibility to make the cheese in-house, she would. But alas, she doesn’t have her cheese room. The wraps are made in-house too. This is why, I figured, everything tastes pretty darn fresh!
Given we were fairly taken by the wraps, I wanted to try what they call falafa-guac. “Just a couple of bites and we can take the rest back to the office,” I told my co-worker who was a little worried about how we were going to finish everything.
The falafaguac has falafel, gucamole, lettuce, tahini and tomato. I know. I hadn’t ever had the chance to put falafel and gucamole together in the past and I am so glad this came into my world.
They also have dessert wraps to ruin any plans of a diet.
The peanut butter – strawberry jelly wrap. I’m not the biggest peanut butter fan – but as its homemade, I’d ask anyone to give it a shot.
Then came the wrap of dreams: the nutella-banana-strawberry wrap. I could eat one of these everyday.
I also learnt from Sophia that if I were to ever come up with a “make-it-your-own” creation that is a total winner, they might actually add it to the menu. A Mr. Draper happened to walk into the restaurant one day and created quite the wrap which is now is a permanent feature on their menu. And it’s called the “Mr. Draper”. Life goals right there people! I’m going to have a wrap named after me, ya’ll watch!
Until that happens, why wait? Head on over and check out this truly fresh and homegrown space!
LOCATION: Cluster P, Armada Tower 3, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
DISCLOSURE – We were guests of Mantoushe but as always, all opinions are our own.