Owned by the sons of Chafic Choueiri, the man who started Brunswick’s renowned A1 Bakery, Zaatar quietly opened three weeks ago on a busy corner in Coburg.
“Pizzas are what we do,” says co-owner Wadi Choueiri, adding that the bread-based menu items are the most popular.
Wadi and his brothers Ameen and George have 40 years baking experience between them, so you can be sure that what’s coming out of the oven here is top notch. Choose from a traditional zaatar pizza (bread topped with thyme, sesame seed, organo, sumac, salt and olive oil), or get more adventurous with a shanklish (dried, spiced yogurt), onion and tomato variety. There are 15 pizzas and pies to choose from, including a surprising east-meets-west offering – a Vegemite and cheese pie.
“People who love Vegemite love that one!” exclaims Wadi, admitting that he prefers a zaatar pizza, as it’s what he and his brothers grew up eating and regard as their Vegemite.
A range of mezze, dips and salads are also available and the menu encourages you to mix and match. You might like to pair kibbe and sambousek with hummus and fattoush salad, or perhaps falafel with eggplant dip and tabouli.
Or you can try Zaatar’s signature snack, the ‘Zoccacia’, a huge folded sandwich filled with soujok (Turkish spiced sausage), haloumi, kofte or bastourma (sweet and smoky cured beef).
There is a range of Middle Eastern sweets available and Wadi, with 10 years experience as a barista, will make you a mean flat white. The machine is a trusty La Marzocco and coffee beans are from Gridlock.
Weekends have been flat out during their first month and with a Big Breakfast consisting of eggs, flat bread, labne, mint, and soujok for just $12.50, we’re pretty confident that morning traffic will be non-stop.
Zaatar is a big, bright space with about 60 seats, plus a large communal table, resplendent with Moroccan tiles. Once you’ve eaten in, be sure to check out the take home options.
365 Sydney Road, Coburg
(03) 9939 9494