Fattoush Mediterranean Cuisine, Malvern, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on August 8, 2018

in Artful Diner Review, Opinion, Pennsylvania, Wining and Dining

Fattoush Mediterranean Cuisine

182 Lancaster Avenue

Malvern, Pennsylvania

(484) 568-4465


Fattoush - InteriorFattoush is one of those hidden little gems that operates under the radar. You could probably pass by the restaurant a dozen times and never give it a second thought. I mean, stuck plop in the middle of a series of totally nondescript strip malls, its exterior isn’t particularly prepossessing… Neither is the utilitarian interior, awash with unadorned tables and minimalist décor.

But looks can be – and usually are – deceiving. The magic here is clearly in the fresh, vibrant, made-from-scratch Mediterranean (with particular emphasis on Lebanese) cuisine. Modest prices will add significantly to your enjoyment, as well as the fact that you may tote along your own wine.

Getting things started, all the usual suspects are present and accounted for… You have the traditional Hummus and Baba Ghanouj, popular appetizers made with ground chickpeas and smoked eggplant, respectively; both zestfully seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and tahini (sesame seed paste). The Falafel – deep-fried lavishly spiced balls of ground chickpeas & fava beans topped with tahini sauce – are exceptionally tasty; ditto the Kibee, Lebanese meatballs stuffed with spiced beef, onions and nuts.

Fattoush - Lebanese MezzaTrouble making up your mind…? Then I highly recommend the Lebanese Mezza (shared platter), comprised of all the above-mentioned items plus the ubiquitous stuffed grape leaves and plenteous portions of pita bread for dipping, etc. This is a fabulous way to begin your meal; it also affords you a marvelous opportunity to sample an interesting variety of delicious Middle Eastern appetizers.

There are, of course, other preludes to consider… The Lentil Soup, a rich vegetable-based stock buttressed by rice and spices is always a solid choice. And, since Some Like It Hot, feel free to ask the chef to spruce things up with a touch of his hot sauce.

Especially during the warmer weather, however, I’d probably give my nod to the kitchen’s interesting array of salads. The Tabbouleh, for example – a Middle Eastern salad made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion dressed with olive oil and lemon juice – is light but thoroughly invigorating on the palate. Then there’s always Fattoush, a traditional Lebanese salad comprised of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, green peppers, radish and pomegranate splashed with olive oil & lemon juice and spiked with sumac, a deep red spice with a zippy, lemony flavor.

Fattoush - Greek SaladOn the other hand, if you’d prefer something a bit more familiar, the Horiatiki (pictured) is a traditional Greek salad consisting of romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomato and feta cheese. A generous sprinkling of oregano provides just the right seasoning, while all the components are gently tossed with a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. If properly prepared, a simple Greek salad can be one of the most refreshing and satisfying preludes to any meal… And Fattoush’s version is one of the best I’ve sampled in quite some time.

As you move on to the house specialties and what would be considered entrées, you encounter a word that may be unfamiliar to most diners: Shawarma. This is a term that refers to a specific method of meat preparation where cuts of spiced & marinated lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. As it rotates and the outside cooks continuously, thin slices are shaved off. Shawarma is one of the world’s most popular street foods, especially in countries of the eastern Mediterranean, western Asia, and northeast Africa.

Fattoush - Chicken GyroShawarma may be served as a sandwich or wrap or on a platter with various accompaniments.  A Greek gyro refers to a similar turning method of preparation. At Fattoush, both the Beef Shawarma and Chicken Shawarma are wrapped in very thin Lebanese pita bread. The former is garnished with lettuce, tomato, parsley, onion, and tahini sauce; the latter with lettuce, pickles, and garlic sauce. The Greek variation on the theme is the Chicken Gyro (pictured), which is presented on pita bread with lettuce, tomato, onion, (maybe a touch of hot sauce), and topping of homemade tzatziki sauce.

Fattoush - Samke HarraThe Chicken Shawarma Platter features spiced and marinated thinly shaved chicken served over rice with a tabbouleh salad and the restaurant’s zesty homemade garlic sauce. This is an absolutely fabulous dish that beguiles the palate with a winning combo of contrasting tastes and textures. Equally exciting is the Samke Harra (pictured). Pan-fried flounder is served on a pillow of rice and perfectly seasoned slices of sautéed zucchini, topped with diced tri-colored peppers, nuts and onion, and finished with a sensual tahini sauce.

Fattoush - Kafta BurgerFor the less adventurous of palate, Fattoush also offers American-style sandwiches like your basic Cheeseburger and Grilled Chicken on a Kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato and mayo. If you have children along with finicky eating habits, that’s one thing… But why go to a first-rate Mediterranean eatery and order a cheeseburger? Stick with what the house does best and the odds that you won’t be disappointed are greatly in your favor. So, if you happen to be overcome by an irresistible burger craving, be sure to give the Kafta Burger (pictured with a side of coleslaw) a try. This is a Lebanese burger of ground beef, parsley, onion, and an interesting variety of exotic seasonings. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Fattoush does have a couple of weak links. The first is dessert (or lack thereof). The menu notes: “From traditional baklava to Turkish pistachio cake, our homemade desserts vary from day to day. Please ask your server what is on the menu today!” Well, I did… Ask, that is. On one occasion it was baklava, which was actually quite good. On another occasion, it was… nothing. Zippo. Zilch…The second drawback here is the service, which can be either knowledgeable & attentive or on the flighty side, depending upon the luck of the draw.

Despite these minor faux pas, Fattoush is definitely worth a visit. The food is of excellent quality, is carefully prepared and nicely presented. And, as mentioned at the outset, prices are extremely wallet-friendly. The most expensive menu item is the $19.99 shrimp platter; wraps, burgers and sandwiches weigh in around the $10.00 mark… Just don’t forget to BYOB.

Bon Appétit!


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