After a while it became obvious: Mama Manoush was gonna have to move. The Nicholson St favourite, which has been dishing up lip-smacking Lebanese cuisine for years, had become too big for its boots. Owner Anthony Hachem realised they needed larger digs, and he’s found the perfect spot—right at the top of Lygon St.
Fans will be happy to hear that Mama Manoush has remained mostly the same. Elizabeth Kairouz is still rocking the kitchen, slinging chicken wings, kafta, tabouli and kebkabett by the dozen. She learned to cook from her Grandmother and mother back in Lebanon, and brought the family recipes with her when she migrated to Melbourne in 1987. If you’ve ever eaten at Mama, you’ll know Kairouz is a big reason for its success.
So what’s new? Well for starters, the beer garden. A huge fake-grassed, timber-lined courtyard out back, which will be serving up street-style Lebanese, just in time for summer. Think hot shawarma with lamb or chicken, lurid green falafel and halloumi wraps stuffed with tabouli and garlic yogurt. You can customise your plate with a range of extras like fresh chillies, hummus and Kairouz’ famous baba ghannouj. They’ve even got Lebanese doughnut cups for afters.
A beer garden’s only as good as its beers, and Mama Manoush has a solid mix of craft and major label. Everything from the trusty Stone & Wood pale to Two Birds and lemon-wedged Coronas. There’s also some house wines, rose and bubbles, for when frothies aren’t going to cut it.
The new location fits the brand to a T. Contemporary, even a little grungy, but warm, welcoming and loud. Like a big Lebanese hug.
“We decided to move our business to somewhere we can really showcase what Lebanese people are about,” Anthony says, “hospitality, tasty food and fun people with a great vibe.”
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White