Mamnoon: A Middle Eastern Treat in Seattle

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The Capital Hill area of Seattle reminds me a lot of Brooklyn.  The hipsters have created out a nice enclave of good food, impeccably brewed coffee and perfectly concocted cocktails – yes, cocktails.  This groundwork generally makes for a very nice food scene, and Mamnoon is no exception.

As you walk into Mamnoon the fragrant spices hit you in the face, like you walked into the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.  Between the smell of spices and a bread oven at the front of the restaurant constantly pumping out three different types of fresh bread, you know it is going to be a good meal.

The bread is served with olive oil and spices and is anything but average.  There are two flatbreads.  Both the wheat and the white flour versions are warm pillows of goodness.  The focaccia style bread with sesame seeds is light but chewy; it is tailor made for the oil and spice dipping sauce.

The first course is a series of small plates.  The fried cauliflower with yogurt is crispy and brown, with the richness cut neatly by the tart yogurt. The two dumpling dishes, akin to small hand pies, are also rewarding.  The Kibbeh hand pie is a traditional beef mixture cooked within a small wheat shell.  The beef is moist and full of spices and the shell is warm and crispy.  The Sambusek dumpling looks like a small hand-held calzone with melted sheep’s milk cheese and a sweet fig sauce.

For dinner we sampled two of the kabob dishes, both of which were perfectly spiced and had taken on nice flavor from the fire where they were grilled.  The traditional kefta was a nice mix of beef, lamb and pistachio with a well balanced acidic mix of micro greens served on top.  The shish taouk is a white meat chicken shish kabob that is surprisingly moist for their size and cut.  If you were able to save any of your bread, this would be the ideal time to finish it all off.

We ended the meal with mazaher for dessert.  It was a light and fruity pile of thinly shaved ice which was perfectly flavored and balanced with orange blossom, citrus, honey and whipped yogurt.

Mamnoon serves up a menu of complex flavors and perfectly spiced dishes that I would recommend to anyone in the Seattle area.  We noted on the way out that the take out window looked excellent, so there is always a next time.