September 21, 2018 Leith, Syrian No Comments

Taza Bake

Our Beer Man’s Verdict

Stewartfield doesn’t seem like the most promising spot for Lunchquest activity, with a hotch-potch of random businesses in a fairly unattractive industrial unit just off Newhaven Road.

Domestic duties took me there one lunchtime and I was intrigued by the promise of a Syrian bakery hidden among the gyms and framing workshops. 

Not the easiest place to find – and seemingly only open from 10am to 2pm – Taza Bake is quietly tucked into a tiny corner furthest from the road.

The menu is basic but tempting, offering man’oushen (an oven-baked pizza-style pastry), fatayer (small pies) and a few other sweet and savoury treats.

It’s a charming operation, with the proprietor busy kneading and shaping dough into flatbreads and deftly placing them in the stone oven where they instantly blister and blacken. It’s enticing, and really sharpens the appetite.

Service, however, isn’t quick. It’s quaintly loose and relaxed and we wait around 20 minutes at the counter – “five minutes,” we’re promised a few times – before our order is taken.

This is one of my pet hates. But I don’t mind here as it’s relaxing – almost soothing – to watch the effortless artisan skill that goes into preparing this simple food. It’s an under-stated joy to behold.

By way of an apology, the proprietor gives us a complimentary fatayer each – fresh from the oven – to munch on as we wait. The cheese version is a creamy pillowy delight, the pepper and olive is piquant while the zatar is citrus spiced. They’re glorious – two or three bites each – and a snip at just 50p each.

We then have three of the man’oushen – which range from £1.50 to £3.50 – to take away.

These flatbreads are about 10 inches in diameter, soft with a gentle smoky char. The toppings are light: cheese, mince beef with pomegranate molasses, and mince beef with garlic and pepper. They are all terrifically good eating. Substantial but easy, I could have demolished a couple myself – and at these prices, there’s little reason not to…

Taza Bake is a delightful little operation, with warm service and delicious, freshly-made unfussy fayre.

I’ll be back very soon to work my way through the rest of the menu, from the sweet ma’moul and folded or stuffed man’oushen to the two special dishes: cheese in a pot and beef in a tray.

And I urge you to visit at the earliest opportunity, too – it’s a hidden gem.

Address: Stewartfield, Edinburgh EH6 5RQ

Written by BKR