As Tashkent grows, more and more international cuisines are available for discerning gourmands to try. One of the newest additions to the city’s palate is a cafe specializing in Lebanese manakish. If you’ve never had it before, Lebanese flatbread called “manakish” is a crunchy, tasty food sprinkled with za’atar and sometimes with other toppings. Za’atar is a fragrant herb mix containing sesame, sumac, salt, other herbs, and in this case, pistachios. The result is a light, delicious snack, that can be eaten on the spot or taken away. The owner is from Lebanon and he imports the za’atar from his home country especially for the cafe.
You might be surprised how fast the manakish is made to order – no reheated bread here! From a ball of dough to a dish ready to eat, the entire process takes only 5-7 minutes. What kinds of manakish do they have at Forn Lebnen? What kinds don’t they have is an easier answer! You can have a simple one topped with just za’atar, you can have cheese, labneh cream, meat, turkey. There is even a “dessert” version with chocolate, a la dessert pizza!
While manakish is Forn Lebnen’s specialty, they also have other Mediterranean staples: hummus, tabbouleh, sambousek, even mini pizzas. If you are a fan of Arabic desserts, you can order them to be made especially for you here: a cheese-based dessert called kunafeh, baklava, g’raybe cookies. You’ll find no other truly authentic Arabic place like Forn Lebnen in Tashkent.