Ask any meat lover to give up meat and they’d laugh in your face. Then give them the option of going to MANA and they would be racing you there. These guys, from the minute they opened almost four years ago, have been churning out delicious flatbreads and hearty salads to both vegetarians and meat lovers alike, with queues out the door every lunchtime and evening.
Their success has led to the opening of MANA Raw, also on Wellington Street, and almost immediately afterwards to MANA Café, in that super trendy district often referred to as ‘PoHo’.
I used to complain about spending so much money on a glorified vegetarian sandwich, but MANA’s flats are just so delicious that I have long since ceased complaining and enjoy one of these flats on average once a week.
I tried a few bits and bobs from MANA Raw when it first opened, but can’t really say it was my kind of place. If I have an issue with spending $85 on a sandwich, then spending $70 on a smoothie doesn’t sit very well either. The new MANA Café, however, is much more my kind of place. It has a gorgeous outdoor area for al fresco dining in a quiet neighbourhood, and the menu consists mainly of ‘open flats’ – basically similar to what you get at the original MANA, but served as a kind of pizza instead of rolled up.
You get the choice of a buckwheat or spelt base – both super healthy – and can then choose from a selection of pre-designed toppings. Since this was brunch for us, we opted for two of the more breakfast-friendly toppings. The Da Vinci consisted of a buckwheat base topped with MANA’s ever-popular zaatar paste, spinach, rocket, roasted asparagus, roasted mushrooms, slow-dried tomatoes and fried eggs. It was light, healthy, and very tasty, but I found the buckwheat base to be a little on the bitter side.
For The Lennon we went for the spelt base, which was also topped with zaatar paste and then spinach, rocket, black olives, cherry tomatoes, avocado, seared halloumi and poached eggs. This, for me, was the winning recipe, as I’m a sucker for anything with halloumi.
If you’re after something sweet instead of savoury, there are also a couple of sweet open flats. I particularly liked the sound of ‘The Blake’, which consists of chocolate hazelnut spread, bananas, cashew nuts and white chocolate nibs… I am definitely going to have to go back to try it.
We opted instead for a ‘healthy’ oatmeal and raisin cookie and a raw peanut butter truffle, both of which satisfied our need for something sweet, yet without that guilty feeling.
MANA Café is in a somewhat less convenient location, so I probably won’t be able to frequent it quite as often, but this will make the open flats taste even better when I am able to get there! Flats at MANA Café are a little more expensive, at $100 each, but, given MANA’s tried, tested and clearly successful product, I don’t think this will stop the crowds.
8 Tai On Terrace
Tel: +852 2347 8555