323 Lygon St, Brunswick, Melbourne
Husband and I were having a chat on our way to Mankoushe for lunch on Sunday; we’d just left Brunswick St, Fitzroy, where we’d had a Sunday morning tea & coffee stop, drove by Nicholson St in Fitzroy North so I could drop by my favourite tattoo studio, Third Eye, to discuss a new piece I’m working on, and then onto Lygon St in Brunswick East for lunch at the Middle Eastern eatery. We were talking about how, even though I love being on the road and visiting new cities, I was stoked to be back in Melbourne and particularly my favourite stomping ground, the Fitzroy area.
Let’s not sugar coat it or call it something it’s not – it is deep hipster terrain. It always has been, since way back before hipsters were actually cool. It got us thinking about how most city CBDs feel much the same, all over the world, but it’s the inner city hipster suburbs where you get a real feel for a place. That said, it’s hard to know exactly where to look, and they can be almost impossible to navigate if you’re not a local; for example, if you had someone visiting Melbourne and mentioned that Brunswick St is an awesome street to hang out on, great food and shopping, awesome bars and cafes, but if they ended up on the Brunswick St end north of Alexandra Parade, they’d be seriously questioning your sanity and coolness factor. The Brunswick end of Lygon St is much the same – unless you know what you’re looking for, it can seem a bit unconventinoal and daunting for a lot of people
ANYWAY, these areas are the ones I love being around, and I was stoked to find that we were close to Mankoushe after the tattoo stop; I’d been wanting to try it for ages! It’s a gorgeous little family run restaurant, with a bakery attached; the restaurant menu is a little fancier, a bit more elaborate, whereas the bakery is pretty simple, providing all of the classics – think haloumi pies, falafel and wood-fired pizzas topped with all sorts of mince meat, spices, herbs and nuts. We ordered a haloumi pie ($5.50), above, which was fantastic; a thinner and slightly crispier dough than that at Cedar’s Bakery, and I’m actually not sure which I preferred!
We also got a falafel wrap each ($8.50), below, which were a lot bigger and more filling than we expected! The photo below shows only half a wrap of the perfectly soft wrap coddling the best falafel I’ve had in Melbourne. It was chunky and so full of flavour, with the most magnificent crispy crust, with just enough tomato, lettuce and pickles to compliment the falafel without detracting from it. I really loved the tahini they used instead of the hummus that often accompanies these types of sandwiches/wraps – it was the perfect fit.
Don’t expect the fancy table settings or friendlier service you’re gonna get at the restaurant when you take your seat at the bakery, but take it for what it is, instead; unpretentious, honest food, simple and full of flavour, at an exceptionally good price considering the serving size and quality. They are also open tomorrow until 9pm, so think about changing up your dinner plans and heading out to hipster country – it’s more than worth it!