A new pizzeria is hoping to get food lovers out of their comfort zone with a fresh take on traditional Lebanese cuisine.
Franchisee Tashi Shurb and restaurant manager Yangje Shurb recently opened the Gungahlin branch of award-winning Lebanese pizza restaurant Manoosh Pizzeria.
Ms Shurb said she fell in love with Lebanese food when her brother started working at Manoosh Pizzeria in Sydney.
“The more I tried new things, the more I fell in love with Lebanese cuisine,” she said. “We serve fresh, good food, and we want to make people like me fall in love with it too.
“It’s so different and yet the mouth just loves it. I think it’s better not to get comfortable with food.”
Not much has changed since opening the Gungahlin branch with her husband – Ms Shurb continues to love the traditional Lebanese flatbread.
“Manoosh has the best Za’atar bread I have ever tried. I’ve seen a lot of people come here just for the Za’atar bread.”
The couple moved from Sydney to the Gungahlin area about a year ago.
“We moved to Canberra because most of our friends and family are here, and since then, we have fallen for Gungahlin,” said Ms Shurb.
Ms Shurb has a long history in hospitality, having worked in a family hotel in Nepal, fast food in Sydney and now opening their own Manoosh Pizzeria in Canberra.
“At Maccas, I had to look after everything like the fryer, coffee and customer service. It was stressful but a good stress. Even though it was a long time ago, the memories remain. We both have a special place in our hearts for hospitality,” she said.
“Manoosh was a new chapter, to step into something and build something on our own that we both love and are passionate about.”
Ms Shurb has been working for Manoosh for three months now, being trained by Mr Shurb.
“He’s been a great teacher, super calm. I don’t know everything yet so I am just trying to be kind to Tashi for now!”
Like Ms Shurb, Mr Shurb has also worked in hospitality for a long time.
“I’ve done everything back in Nepal – barista, cooking – and I just wanted to get into pizza.”
When Mr Shurb started working at Manoosh Pizzeria, he said he wanted to know everything he could about pizza.
He says Lebanese pizza offers something different: “The freshness and the flavour of the base and toppings are a little bit different from the normal pizza.”
“It’s always good to try different things and our shop is designed so that customers can see everything inside. When someone orders, they can see exactly how everything is made.”
Having worked with Manoosh Pizzeria for seven years, Mr Shurb loves to make food that brings smiles to customers’ faces.
Manoosh Pizzeria first opened its doors in Sydney as a Lebanese bakery serving traditional Lebanese pizzas such as Za’atar bread, Lehambajin and Haloumi Pies.
Since then, the restaurant has evolved the typical Lebanese menu to include classic pizzas, wraps, salads and desserts.
The menu draws inspiration from owner and founder Charlie Hoyek’s Lebanese heritage with a secret pizza dough recipe that’s been passed down from two generations of bakers.
Mr Hoyek said Manoosh Pizzeria “stands out for our freshness, as we make and bake on the spot”.
Manoosh Pizzeria also offers many options for gluten-free, halal, vegetarian and vegan customers.
Over the years, Mr Hoyek has expanded his business to 14 locations and more Canberra locations are on the drawing board.
“We will be expanding with more stores in the ACT to serve our delicious meals to the communities of Canberra”.
Mr Hoyek said he is excited to open Manoosh Pizzeria for the Gungahlin area.
Manoosh Pizzeria in Gungahlin is open for dine-in, pick-up and home delivery at 3/46 Hibberson Street, near Wok It Up and Grill’d. It’s open from 10 am to 10:30 pm seven days a week.