“We actually have a few customers who come down from the business district,” says Husam Al-Sweedy, whose family owns the nearly three-year-old Levant Eatery on Hindley Street’s western end.
Now, it’s less of a walk. A second location serving Levant’s signature Eastern-Mediterranean street food has landed on Pirie Street. “There are just a whole lot of coffee shops,” says Al-Sweedy of the strip, “and not much in the way of new food offerings.” Funnily enough, Levant has taken up residence in a former coffee shop.
The lunch menu is a carbon copy of Hindley Street’s. Think hummus, falafel and grilled meats stuffed into pocket bread, or a quinoa- or cous cous-based salad, then topped with drizzles of house-made sauces. “We bake our bread and grill our meat fresh to order,” Al-Sweedy says. Even so, wait times are only around seven minutes. That should suit your lunch hour.
New to the breakfast menu – at both locations – is a selection of grab-and-go toasties with fillings such as sujuk (Turkish sausage). Pull up a seat and dig into a clay pot of shakshuka if you’ve got a little more time.
The Pirie Street entrance emulates an “old Arabic hotel”, says Al-Sweedy. Moving through the brightly coloured space towards a few graffitied roller doors, “It’s meant to feel like you’re walking down a street,” he says. The completely open kitchen gives the feel of a street-food vendor.
Through a separate doorway on Pirie Street – just left of the main entrance – sits a hole-in-the-wall takeaway coffee shop, for now. Al-Sweedy is working on a new grab-and-go food concept to take its place.