One of my favourite restaurants on Commercial Drive is an intimate and authentic little Lebanese spot called Jamjar. We’ve seen it mature all the way from construction site three years ago to today, when it exudes all the confidence of an eatery ready for more. Like a lot of people I’m a big fan of their rich, creamy hummus (they always have at least three flavour options). I also dig their warm saj bread with mjadra; their minted labneh with green onions; their superb cauliflower, brushed with pomegranate molasses and fried to a golden brown. The flavours are at once bold and subtle, impactful and restrained — a real high wire act.
About 7 weeks ago owner Fadi Eid signed a deal that will – on January 10th, 2017 – land him his second space, 1488 West 11th Avenue in the South Granville neighbourhood. It’s the Rangoli location which – if I’m not mistaken – is going to be moving into the original Vij’s spot next door. It offers Eid 1,ooo sqft and 50 seats evenly split between inside and out, plus a larger kitchen than the one on The Drive, not to mention retail refrigeration/freezer space for Jamjar’s growing take home product line (eg. hummus, kibbeh, falafel, spinach pies, etc.). We can expect an expanded menu with several new additions that cleave to Lebanese tradition (moghrabieh, freekeh, mloukhieh, etc), plus family-style options like whole legs of lamb.
If you’re unfamiliar with Lebanese cuisine, it’s healthy, clean and distinct; a gustatory amalgam improved and perfected by way of diverse flavour/ingredient injections arrived and exploited over millennia. It’s the taste of the Levant, the crossroads of the ancient Mediterranean, the mixing bowl of the Romans, Phoenicians, French and Ottoman Turks, the left nut of Apicius (the Gordon Ramsay of his day). It’s definitely one of Vancouver’s culinary blind spots, so I’m really excited at the prospect of more. The build is going to take about three weeks, so expect an opening at some point in February, 2017. I’ve included some renderings below. to give you an idea of the woody aesthetic. It clearly harkens back to the original.
Eid is also in the beginning stages of opening a small, fast-casual offshoot of his operation called Jamjar Canteen out at UBC’s new Central building. It should launch at some point this Spring.
THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Owner: Fadi Eid
Jamjar is a “from scratch” approach kitchen inspired by traditional eastern Mediterranean flavours and a passion for home-style Lebanese cooking. Due to the abundance of fruit and produce in Lebanon, households often convert their excess fruits into jam, and in true Levantine spirit they share their creations with neighbours and friends.
At Jamjar, we replicate this gesture of unspoken generosity and showing of affection through food, on a daily basis. We source our produce daily, ensuring our food is always fresh. We also partner with local producers and suppliers in order to support the local community that supports us in turn. In keeping with tradition, Jamjar sells its dips in recyclable mason jars that customers bring back for refills at a discount.
Located on diverse Commercial Drive, Jamjar weaves perfectly into the rich tapestry of cultures found in this welcoming neighbourhood.
For the best Lebanese Food in Vancouver | “Let’s hear it for Jamjar who has taught us to love, love, love hummus. It’s sooo good here!” Mia Standby, The Vancouver Sun.