When Jenanne (Jena) and Abdoullah (Abs) Mehio sold their Magill Road cafe The Little Eastern last year, they knew their house specialty manoushi had to live on.
The nine-inch flatbread, packed with fillings of spiced lamb, za’atar labneh or chicken, is the signature item on the menu at Saha 303, which opened at the eastern end of The Parade in December 2017.
The space is a narrow warren of rooms and doors that extends out to a sunny suburban courtyard filled with tables and chairs; umbrellas; and a wooden cubbyhouse and children’s toys. The interior is a light, bright and minimalist space. There is also a crèche-of-sorts and a multi-use “wellness space” for yoga, Pilates and mothers’ groups.
A central communal table – topped with the day’s paper, a pile of Kinfolk magazines and greenery from Botanica Boutique – was made from the door of the former venue’s cool room. Pull up a stool and kick back with a custom-blend coffee (from local roaster Rio Coffee).
The kitchen turns out wholesome all-day breakfast and lunch with a tilt towards vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. There are Western favourites (smashed avo, eggs, pancakes and Bircher musesli) with Levantine flourishes: labneh, sujuk (spiced beef sausage), tahini and baba ganoush.
Lunch leans towards traditional Lebanese cuisine such as fattoush salad, mujadara (stewed red lentils and brown rice), kibbe (balls of cracked wheat and finely ground meat) and, of course, the manoushi.
A cabinet is stocked with quick grab-and-go options (think hummus; spinach pies; falafel wraps; and traditional sweets) made by Jena’s mum, who runs providore Samira’s Pantry. Her full product range (including olives, haloumi and za’atar) lines the shelves alongside hand-blended teas from Saha Botanica and organic protein powder from Happy Way.