CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Zaatar W Zeit: Lebanese Traditions Upscaled and Revisited
Breakfast from Zaatar w Zeit: Fast and Effective Takeaway
Zaatar w Zeit has changed and bluntly speaking the new direction is somehow deceiving on so many levels. It's a wannabe diner inspired by Pret-a-Manger with a missing link somewhere. What was once a favorite diner is now a different place.
Zaatar w Zeit has been known for elevating Lebanese breakfast and more to a whole new level with expansions across the country. A new location is found in Jeita, where I stopped to try the new ZwZ. From yellow to green, the new logo speaks another language and what was once a restaurant menu has become a leaflet. Food on another hand has taken a complete new direction; let's see.
The space may look classier, but it has a different feel to what we know… White, grey and black are the new colors. The floor tiles are a reminder that Zaatar w Zeit is Lebanese.
The new menu printed on an A4 paper is clearer. Breakfast, manakish, beverages, desserts, dessert wraps, teasers, salads, wraps, street food corner, platters, pizzas and the light section.
The new additions:
- Teasers are new.
- Hummus has made it on the menu served with crackers, the New York way. (Seriously hummus!)
- Three street food famous orders are revisited by ZWZ.
- The sun-dried tomato bread, my all time favorite, has disappeared from the menu. (That's the dumbest move ever!)
- Two dessert wraps can be ordered, including the new-marketed Knefeh.
- Oat dough is the new trend. (Deceiving!)
- Halloum bacon has changed; my all-time favorite sandwich in Lebanon is now made of dry dough and a salty filling. It lacks juiciness and freshness. It needs tomatoes, more mayonnaise and a fluffier dough. What a disappointment! You can't imagine how sad I am. Many out there will understand what I am talking about. It was seriously a favorite among many.
- Shawarma: Looking for juiciness, this sandwich has an excess of it. This sandwich needs more meat and less tarator. Tender dough, tomatoes, tarator; ok but where is the meat? Mini chunks of meat cut smaller than tomato cubes; you don't actually feel in this sandwich of yours. The idea is good and surely can work, but some fine-tuning is needed.
- Wild Zaatar in the multi cereal dough with a mix of tomatoes and onions; but why does it have a sweet taste? The dough should be cooked more to remove the sweetness.
- Hummus and crackers; allow me to say it out loud. "Our version" of the hummus is a disaster, a blasphemy to the hummus. It’s dry and tastes of tahina only. It’s hard in consistency, acidic and unpleasant served with dry toast that's not even tasty. All this and I haven’t mentioned the presentation yet. I expected a plate of tender smoothly hummus served with chickpeas chips on the side, at least something edible. Trying to copy the American way for presenting Hummus, ZWZ failed - Big time!
- Labneh wrap: Nothing to write home about. The labneh leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Endless layers of bread stuffed with Nutella and banana. Too much bread! Is it good? Yes, because anything with Nutella tastes good. Bread is too chewy.
- The Knefeh: Seriously? Too much sugar syrup, too much rose water, an overdose of semolina and a tiny portion of cheese, which is less than the bread itself. Don't expect anything close to the image seen on Lebanon's advertising poles. The cheese is not elastic, semolina does not decorate the mankoushe and quantity of ingredients is ten times less. The sugar syrup leaves a bizarre flavor in the mouth.
- Oat dough is a failure; at least the old sun-dried one was fluffier, juicier and tastier.
- Hummus is surely not something I want to eat again at ZWZ; not tasty at all!
- Halloum and Bacon sandwich has lost its place as the best sandwiches in Lebanon.
- The Knefeh photo is misleading; an illusion.
- With all this branding, new decor, new menu and improvements... No one found a way to present these sandwiches better than throwing them in cheap baskets?
- The service is just as welcoming if not better. You still feel the positive vibes everywhere.
But as the saying goes... If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The old concept was great, doing well, loved by many... why change something that was working?