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Aleph Eatery combines Middle Eastern flavours with West Coast tastes

Owner Haitham El Khatib has borrowed from many different Middle Eastern cuisines to create a fresh and interesting menu

NONE The Medi Benny from Aleph Eatery. Uploaded by: Jen St. Denis

Abby Wiseman / For Metro

NONE The Medi Benny from Aleph Eatery. Uploaded by: Jen St. Denis

I have anticipated a Middle Eastern food explosion in Vancouver for some time, which is why I have been chomping at the bit to try Hastings Sunrise’s newest restaurant, Aleph Eatery.

Every Middle Eastern country has its own cuisine and Aleph (1889 Powell St.) owner Haitham El Khatib borrowed from all of them. From the Middle East, El Khatib has literally lived everywhere before moving to Vancouver with his wife and business partner, Fiona Hepher, who is a born Vancouverite.

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The first thing you must try at Aleph is the Arabic coffee ($4) with cardamom and served with a date. No milk required when cardamom is involved and the date is a lovely touch.

The coffee at Aleph Eatery.

Abby Wiseman/For Metro

The coffee at Aleph Eatery.

The second thing to try is the Silk Road ($12) dip with hummus, baba ghanoush, zaatar (sesame, sumac and herbs), honey and strained yogurt called labneh. Served with fresh saj bread (similar to pita), cooked to order on a saj, which is the name of the round grill common in the Middle East.

The hummus is super smooth, creamy and nicely balanced without too much lemon or garlic. The baba ganoush was a little lost in the tang of the labneh, pickled beet and the herb mixture topped on the saj. A little sweetness came through with the honey and the warm saj had that fresh yeast flavour that can’t be faked. Super delicious.

Next up was Medi Benny ($14) served on saj bread and topped with hollandaise that includes turmeric and tahini. The tahini and turmeric took away from any vinegar in the hollandaise and brought it to earth. The dish was a lighter and fresher take on a benny and I really liked herbal flavours combined with the perfectly poached eggs.

Pancakes at Aleph Eatery.

Abby Wiseman/For Metro

Pancakes at Aleph Eatery.

Last I took a risk and tried the Pancakes ($11) topped with labneh, apricot jam and rose syrup. The pancakes were made with oats making them a more textured bite. I found the labneh a little overpowering and would suggest less labneh, more apricot jam and rose syrup. I loved the fragrant rose syrup and I’m excited to see this dish evolve.

The room itself is beautiful and calming with banquet seating and small tables that face out. White walls and green plant make it clean and bright even on the gloomiest of days and the open kitchen makes for good people watching. The food is super accessible, the staff is friendly and the room makes for a great long brunch. I’m excited to try the dinner menu.

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