February 05, 2017 Lebanon

A Comparative Review: Manakish for Breakfast, 5 Bakeries, 1 Winner

The comparative series are a set of reviews I'll be publishing from time to time. I'll be ordering the same item from three to five different places for a constructive comparison... let's enjoy breakfast and eat some manakish!

Who doesn’t love Manakish; Manoushet Zaatar, Mankoushet Jebne or one with Labneh and vegetables. Enjoying a good wrap is all about the passion poured into it, the texture of the bread, the quantity of sugar added and finally the quality of ingredients used...

Considering the fact that it’s not easy to maintain the same quality of taste across each outlet in big franchises such as the ones below - due to oven variations, the management and various other factors… consider this review as a general idea; as close as it can be to the offerings of the bakeries stated.

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Five bakeries, three items ordered from each and delivered to the office.

Wooden Bakery:

Notes: three manakish are delivered on a carton plate. The best thing about WB is that the manakish are still edible up to an hour after the bag is opened.

  • Zaatar: fluffy dough, soft, thick and airy - far from being chewy. A tasty dough and an acidic Zaatar. Lightly green, the Zaatar quantity is just enough to satisfy you. A bit too bready though, the Mankouche is filling and I'm sure this is the aim. I would have preferred it to be thinner and lighter.
  • Cheese: white cheese, lightly salty, the average accawi everyone uses on the same fluffy and thick dough. It's your commercial Mankouche prepared adequately.
  • Zaatar and Labneh with vegetables: good Zaatar, a dough that's not soggy, fresh vegetables. A good offering.

Zaatar w Zeit:

Notes: no plate to support the manakish and the dough becomes hard like a piece of wood as soon as the bag is opened. The most expensive of all is clearly not worth it.

  • Zaatar: a thin dough, lightly chewy. A full bodied thick and dark Zaatar with a load of crushed stems left over from the production - surely making the Zaatar cheaper. It is unpleasantly acidic and heavy. The dough is dry, condensed, not airy. The quality of Zaatar used is one of the cheapest I've ever seen.
  • Accawi: like all the others, the same dough but softer because of the water content of the cheese. Good enough. You expect a better cheese mix from ZWZ for the price paid.
  • Zaatar and Labneh with Vegetables: you spend far too much time chewing as the dough is unpleasantly chewy!

Moulin D'Or:

Notes: they put way too much Zaatar on the Mankouche and it doesn't even stick to the dough. Open the bag and have the floor covered with sesame. Food quality is below average.

  • Zaatar: close to inedible, a hard and very thin dough - way too unpleasant to eat. A light bodied, light green Zaatar of good quality however, but not a Mankouche I'd order again anytime soon.
  • Cheese: the same exact Accawi cheese yet salty. The dough is soft and watery due to the cheese's water content, but it has a crunchy crust, is fluffy and filling.
  • Zaatar and Labneh with vegetables: crunchy crust, very acidic Zaatar, fresh vegetables - but as a mix put together it's unfortunately not good. Too bulky, dry on the outside and wet on the inside, Labneh spread unevenly and a load of Zaatar - too much!

Keyrouz Bakery:

Notes: the sexiest packaging until you discover the oil which has saturated all the wrapping.

  • Zaatar: a thin dough, toasted on one side and hard on the other, thin and condensed... badly baked. The Zaatar on the other hand is the best out of the five establishments. Very good quality and well balanced Zaatar.
  • Cheese: sweet cheese, an overdose of it, a lack of salt but a soft dough which is normal for the water content of the cheese.
  • Zaatar and Labneh with Vegetables: vegetables that are not as fresh as you'd expect, an overdose of Labneh and a hard dough. Naaaaa!

B2B:

Notes: the first impression is good. A carton plate to support them, two papers wrapping each Mankouche - not only one - and a golden and shiny dough. It seems they add sugar to their dough - more than the others!

  • Zaatar: looks sexy, well toasted and golden. Soft dough and full bodied Zaatar. I enjoyed the fluffiness and texture of the dough as well as the quality of Zaatar.
  • Cheese: soft not fluffy, and dough that has not been affected by the water in the cheese. Good quality cheese that's not sweet and not salty. 
  • Zaatar and Labneh with Vegetables: crunchy vegetables, thin dough, not chewy and not hard, the right amount of Labneh and good Zaatar.

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Prices:

  • Wooden Bakery: LBP9,500 + LBP1,500
  • Zaatar w Zeit: LBP11,000 + LBP2,000 (The most expensive)
  • Moulin D'Or: LBP8,750 + LBP3,000 (WTF! LBP3,000 as a delivery charge?)
  • Keyrouz Bakery: LBP8,250
  • B2B: LBP10,500

Grades:

  • Packaging and delivery /5:    WB: 4, ZWZ: 3, MDO: 4, KB: 4, B2B: 5.
  • Delivery charge /5:    WB: 1, ZWZ: 0, MDO: 0, KB: 5, B2B: 5.
  • Dough quality /10:    WB: 7, ZWZ: 6, MDO: 5, KB: 5, B2B: 8.
  • Zaatar quality /10:    WB: 8, ZWZ: 5, MDO: 6, KB: 7, B2B: 7.
  • Cheese quality /10:    WB: 7, ZWZ: 7, MDO: 7, KB: 6, B2B: 8.
  • Freshness of vegetables/10: WB: 7, ZWZ: 7, MDO: 7, KB: 6, B2B: 6.
  • Overall Taste /40:    WB: 30, ZWZ: 22, MDO: 17, KB: 20, B2B: 32.
  • Value for Money /10:    WB: 6, ZWZ: 3, MDO: 5, KB: 8, B2B: 7.

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Total:

  • Wooden Bakery: 70/100
  • Zaatar w Zeit: 53/100
  • Moulin D'Or: 51/100
  • Keyrouz Bakery: 61/100
  • Breakfast 2 Breakfast: 78/100

Winner for this round: "Breakfast 2 Breakfast". Wooden Bakery comes second.

I'm not sure what "Moulin D'Or" is trying to do!




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been there? what was your impression? (7.77/10)

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happy
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good
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euhh
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meh!
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nah!
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never again