Fattoush Mediterranean Cuisine – A Second Look

by artfuldiner on September 9, 2021

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, Pennsylvania, Wining and Dining

Fattoush Mediterranean Cuisine

182 Lancaster Avenue

Malvern, Pennsylvania

(484) 568-4465


Fattoush - Interior 2As I mentioned three years ago in my original review, Fattoush is one of those little gems that seems to operate under the radar… and not a great deal has changed in the interim. Hidden away in a nondescript little strip mall, this restaurant doesn’t look like anything special from the outside; and the interior, awash with unadorned tables and minimalist décor, isn’t much of a turn on either.

However, looks can be deceiving; and, in this case, they most assuredly are.  The strictly utilitarian surroundings belie the fresh, vibrant, made-from-scratch Mediterranean (Lebanese) cuisine that continues to surprise and delight. Add downright moderate prices and the fact that you may BYOB… and you have a recipe for a marvelously enjoyable evening at table.

Fattoush - Fattoush SaladThere are a number of excellent appetizers from which to choose, including several absolutely first-rate salads. Tabbouleh, for instance, is a luscious Middle Eastern salad combining tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur, and onion. Horiatiki is a traditional Greek salad consisting of romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomato, and feta cheese. A generous sprinkling of oregano provides the perfect seasoning while all the components are gently tossed with a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. For something a bit different, there’s always the Fattoush (pictured), 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 - MezzaFor my money, however, there’s really only one way to start things off; and that’s with the incomparable Lebanese Mezza (pictured), a shared platter comprised of many of the traditional usual suspects: Hummus and Baba Ghanouj (popular apps made with ground chickpeas & smoked eggplant, respectively); Falafel (deep-fried spiced balls of ground chickpeas & fava beans) topped with tahini sauce; Kibbe (Lebanese meatballs stuffed with spiced beef, onions, and nuts); Stuffed Grape Leaves; and, of course, plenteous portions of Pita Bread for dipping, etc. The grape leaves may strike many as old hat. May be… but they are still quite delicious and incredibly superior to representatives I have sampled elsewhere. Both the Hummus and Baba Ghanouj exhibit an incredible depth of flavor (my dining partner prefers the former; I, the latter), and the Falafel and Kibbe are irresistibly seasoned.

During several previous visits, my dining partner and I have sampled a number of the house special entrées, of particular note are the Shawarma. This refers to a 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 - Samke HarraShawarma may be served as a wrap or on a platter with various accompaniments. At Fatoush, both the Beef Shawarma and the 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 Beef Shawarma Platter is served over rice with Fattoush salad and tahini sauce; the Chicken Shawarma Platter is served rice with Tabbouleh salad and homemade garlic sauce. Both versions beguile the palate with winning combinations of tastes and textures… But even more interesting, in my opinion, 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 & onion, and finished with a sensual tahini sauce.

During our most recent visit, we both decided on chicken wraps… but with slightly different ingredients and seasonings… My dining partner chose the Zaatar Chicken Wrap on Lebanese Bread sided by Fattoush salad. Zaatar is a spice that is a staple of the Lebanese table, a blend of savory dried herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme, and toasted earthy spices such as cumin and coriander, along with sesame seeds and salt. The most important ingredient, however, is sumac, which adds a marvelous tanginess to the diced chicken breast. Other key ingredients include feta cheese, tomato, and cucumber.

Fattoush - Greek Chicken WrapMy wrap of choice was the Greek Chicken, also on Lebanese bread with an accompanying cucumber salad (pictured). It wasn’t quite as zippy as the above-mentioned Zaatar, but still nicely seasoned with a combo of interesting flavors provided by spinach, feta cheese, tomato, and, of course, typical of Greek salads, olives.

As you have undoubtedly noticed, the portion sizes here are very generous. So generous, in fact, that our server noted that those diners who, like us, order the Lebanese Mezza to start, often elect to share one entrée rather than order two… Certainly something to keep in mind.

And that brings me to another item of interest… In my first review, I was rather critical of the service, which I noted could be, at times, on the flighty side. During our most recent visit, however, it was excellent – both knowledgeable and attentive – from start to finish. Hopefully, it will continue in this vein.

Fattoush - Bread PuddingMy second gripe concerned dessert – or the lack thereof. On one previous visit, we enjoyed the Homemade Baklava, which was quite good indeed. On another occasion, dessert was conspicuous by its absence… nothing, zippo, zilch. The kitchen had nothing to offer… which to me in an absolute no-no. During our most recent visit, however, we were faced with an abundance of riches… Not only did my dining partner enjoy another go at the Baklava, but I assuaged my sweet tooth with the kitchen’s fabulously decadent Bread Pudding (pictured).

With first-rate service and the two excellent homemade dessert offerings, the restaurant seems to have done a bit of fine tuning since our previous visit – and that makes this little gem even more recommendable. The food here is of impeccable quality, made from scratch, and nicely presented… In addition, as I mentioned at the outset, prices are exceedingly wallet-friendly. The most expensive item on the menu tops out at a mere $19.99… Just don’t forget to BYOB.

Bon Appétit!

Be Safe & Stay Well


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