After another self-imposed COVID hiatus while waiting on my second jab to take full effect, I’m back to bring you the latest on who closed, who opened, and in the case of Mashawee Lebanese Grill, who revamped and rebranded. Mashawee Lebanese Grill has transformed their former Crispy Falafel location on Johnston Road in White Rock with an expanded menu of grilled selections while still offering all your favourites from the original menu. Let’s do lunch!
As soon as you enter Mashawee Lebanese Grill your senses will be feasting as you inhale the heady aroma of sizzling meat and exotic spices. Your eyes will be dazzled by the modern yet traditional decor, your ears will be greeted with friendly greetings from the amiable staff and your tastebuds won’t have to wait long to be satisfied by Mashawee’s quick and capable cooks.
Before you order from their restaurant you can also rest assured that everything on the menu at Mashawee Lebanese Grill is hundo p halal. They also have several interesting vegetarian dishes and gluten-free options are available for a $1.50 upgrade. Your body will thank you for the healthy choices available here, and your mind will be at ease for supporting a local business that gives back to the community; Mashawee was nominated as a 2020 Healthcare Champion for delivering meals to Peace Arch Hospital workers during the toughest times of the pandemic.
The Lebanese Tea ($1.75) was ever so dainty and we definitely felt a bit fancy drinking it. Laced with cardamom, it was a very pleasant palate prepper and set the vibe for our meal. Quite Instagrammable if you’re into that kind of thing.
Mashawee’s famous Falafel ($7.50 for 1/2 dozen) is an absolute must. Even if you aren’t a huge fan (I must admit I’m not either) these are unlike any falafel you’ve tried before. Besides being scratch-made from and gluten-free these have the crispiest crusts surrounding a warm, moist, mealy center spiked with hits of cardamom and sprinkled with only the freshest parsley. The tahini is also house-made and lusciously creamy. The falafel also somehow retained their temperature throughout our meal as we snacked on them between bites of the mains. Do not pass these up! This is what they staked their name on as Crispy Falafel and with good reason.
The rotating shawarma stacks are a new addition to Mashawee Grill’s repertoire, and Craig loves him some shawarma so he pounced on the Chicken Shawarma Plate ($14.25). The chicken is free-run, wheat-fed, local, and yum. It comes with your choice of salad and dip, so here we have a Greek-style for the salad and a thick Greek yogurt-based tzatziki dip with a dusting of paprika. I could only handle one bite of the tzatziki due to a hot date that evening but oh man was it ever good! Uber fresh cucumber and plenty garlic. If I hadn’t made plans for the evening Mashawee’s tzatziki would have been worth the two-day dragon breath.
All plates also come with pita bread and homemade hot sauce plus the same mouth-watering tahini from the falafel appy. The hot sauce really packs a punch but is also quite nuanced in its flavour. The bread was warm and fresh for dipping and we felt there was enough dip to go around between the three of them.
For my turn, I chose the Lamb Lebanese Style ($9.25) from Mashawee Grill’s “Beirut Vibe” menu. I asked for no garlic on this one and the server kindly prompted me for fewer onions as well, thereby saving my date from certain doom. I ordered this one because I like that the authentic tannour bread is made from whole wheat (scratch, natch) but had no idea what to expect otherwise except that our server had recommended lamb as the best option for this particular dish.
The bread was thin and crisp and soaked up the various juices delectably as I slowly savoured my way through the wrap. Toppings included the aforementioned onion, parsley, tomatoes, traditional crinkle cut cucumber as well as turnip (!) pickles, hot sauce and tahini. The grass-fed Australian lamb was juicy as can be and with all the simmering spice (warm cardamom cinnamon something), sauce, and locally-sourced salad the gaminess was only present as a mere aftertaste.
This was a perfect pairing for the falafel and I would highly recommend ordering both for your first visit. The creatively titled “Yogurt Drink” ($2.75) was refreshing and healthy. I love to get these to go with Indian or Middle Eastern food to help cut the spice and cleanse the palate and the Crispy Falafel branded version is as good as any.
There is a lovely little garden out back of the restaurant that makes for nice ambiance while you sip your tea or casually stroll off a few of the calories you picked up at Mashawee.
Compared to Kababji, the other Surrey Lebanese restaurant we tried recently, Mashawee Lebanese Grill was a much more rewarding overall experience. We can also safely recommend their Crispy Falafel location at 2408 King George Boulevard. Come try them out and let us know what to order for our next visit!
PS – Chez Christophe next door is a gem if you have room left for dessert, see our review of Chez Christophe here.