Al Mina Central is located in the Central Market Arcade which is on the eastern side of the Central Markets. Only a few months old, this stall specialises in Lebanese cuisine with meals made fresh to order. The menu is fairly simple with 8 types of Maneesh/Pide, a selection of Mezza Platters and Wraps. They also have a delicious range of Middle Eastern sweets on display behind the counter.
For lunch, I ordered the Zaatar Gourmet. Freshly baked and ready 10 minutes after ordering, it was nicely presented on a wooden pizza board. On top of a perfectly thin and crispy crust was a Middle Eastern herb mix that contained 12 spices including toasted sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, thyme and coriander. The tahini sauce was thick and garlicky, and the tomato slices were ripe and juicy. The rocket salad leaves looked a bit dry and wiltered, but that hardly detracted from how good it was.
The Mezza Platter consisted of Kibbeh, Falafel, Lamb Pocket, Tabouli, Bean Salad, Hummus and Bread. With the exception of the Hummus, which I thought was a little runny, everything on this platter tasted amazing! The Lamb Pocket was delicious. The lamb mince was perfectly seasoned and well refined, and the subtle hints of chilli gave this dish plenty of depth. The Falafel was firm and crunchy on the outside, while the inside was full of fresh herbs and spices; one of the best Falafel I’ve ever had! Even the salads were good. The Tabouli was so simple and refreshing, I could have had a large bowl of this.
The staff were really friendly and the service was good. The atmosphere was vibrant, particularly with all the shoppers using this place as a thoroughfare as they do their Saturday morning shopping. The food here is cheap with the Zaatar Maneesh starting at $2.90 and the most expensive dish being The Royal Mezze Platter at $13.90. The Zaatar Gourmet was $6.50 (the advertised price was $5.90) and the Mixed Platter $8.50.
If I were to name three things that weren’t quite right, they would have been the not-so-fresh rocket leaves in my Zaatar Gourmet Maneesh, the runny Hummus in my Mixed Platter and the fact that I was overcharged for one of my dishes. Having said that, the food overall was quite good and the pricing represented good value for money.
WHERE: Shop 26, Adelaide Central Market Arcade