If you fancy a taste of one of the oldest and healthiest cuisines in the world, head to the family-owned Zena Restaurant – it’s worth the trip to West Didsbury, with authentic home-style Levantine sharing dishes and a warm welcome perfect for leisurely dining.
This style of Middle Eastern cooking is thousands of years old and originates in the Levant countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, with influences from the ancient Turkish-Ottoman and Greek Empire regions. Using the freshest veg and juiciest meats and fish, plenty of zesty herbs and regional spices are added to pack a flavourful punch. The Levantine cuisine serves up a healthy eating plate too, and you can expect a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, from meze dishes such as baba ghanoush aubergine dip, tabbouleh grain salad and lemony hummus topped with chickpeas and a slosh of olive oil to a colourful crunchy fattoush mixture of chopped tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber and radish with chunks of homemade bread. Levantine cooking loves a bit of charcoal and the likes of succulent lamb and sweet seabass are marinated and grilled for a melt-in-the-mouth finish, while skewers include shish, kofta and chicken, each served with chilli sauce – or combine all three and opt for the mixed kebab.
For afters, Levantine sweet dishes involve plenty of rose water, orange blossom, pistachio, pomegranate and honey flavours, and drinks-wise, it’s BYOB, or mint tea and super-strong coffee.
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