This past summer saw the arrival of a popular Ontario eatery in Montreal. Hailing from Mississauga, Original Shawarma built itself a reputation as one of the best shawarma slingers in the GTA. Its opening weekend here drew hordes of diners, creating interminable lineups outside of the Boulevard de l'Acadie locale.
My own attempt to visit on the second day was thwarted with a "sold out" call as early as 5PM. I finally returned on this Friday night to pick up some takeout with a friend. Although its strip-mall setting does not have a ton of parking space in front, I was lucky enough to immediately nab a spot upon arrival.
Original Shawarma's menu spreads across four overhanging screens above the counter and seems quite long at first sight. In reality, most items center around chicken and lamb shawarma in addition to falafel and fried chicken. Those can be ordered in a sandwich (choice of regular pita bread or saj), on a plate with rice or fries, on a salad or in a larger family/platter format.
Undoubtedly an Original creation, this consisted of lamb shawarma – which is halal and mixed with veal here – sandwiched in a thin, flat saj bread along with potatoes and a cheesy sauce; then topped with fries and more shawarma shavings. A delicious, mammoth of a plate!
Four super-sized pieces of boneless chicken were accompanied by a truckload of fries, which have a nice medium crisp. Again, who could eat all this on their own? While the meat was dry-ish inside, the crispy batter was given an interesting twist as I discerned a hint of curry powder.
An eye-catching platter is composed of four saj sandwiches cut up into maki-style rolls surrounding a heap of fries topped with more shawarma. The chicken has a pronounced cardamom flavour and, while good, paled in comparison to the lamb/veal shavings. Those were ultra flavourful and drenched in succulent fat and juices; I now understand the hype behind this brand.
Although we are now months removed from the buzz surrounding Original Shawarma's opening, business is still alive and kicking for the Marché Central tenant. Clients waiting for their orders were aplenty on site and the delivery option was turned off for the night on most platforms.
As a Syrian, I feel pride for what this Syrian-run operation has accomplished and the success it has achieved. And while I have nothing but praise to give the food I sampled today, I cannot award it a final score without trying their standalone shawarma sandwich, minus all the distractions.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $14.82
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.