Malta is in the midst of a gourmet food revolution, and so it was always going to be a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of setting up a proper craft bakery.
Named after a style of gypsy jazz, Manouche – situated at Spinola Park – promises foodies they will find music in every dish they serve. And the little Parisian-style bakery doesn’t disappoint. Manouche literally makes an art out of food – fusing the fine art of French cooking with a couple of unexpected Maltese twists. Everything is made from organic flour and everything is surprisingly cheap.
Its co-owner Luca Selvaggi summed up his intentions in a nutshell: “It’s basically the sort of bakery I would like to go to’.
Manouche are rolling out their products gradually, starting with their desserts – which are all so perfectly crafted that it’s almost a shame to eat them.
I started off with a berry and buttermilk muffin with a generous sprinkling of almond streusel, a lovely combination of flavours without going skimpy on the berries. The price – €2.50.
Then came the almond eclair, oozing with almond praline, carefully dipped in cream, and two silver flakes adorning it just for kicks. Finally, in the spirit of saving the best for last, came the chocolate marquise, a pure heavenly delight that really doesn’t need much more than this picture below to describe.
And that’s just the beginning. Manouche will soon launch a chocolate section, with goodies made out of pure Belgian chocolate that Selvaggi is convinced the people will go crazy for and milkshakes with chocolate straight out of Costa Rica.
For those with more savoury tooths, never fear. Manouche will also sell salads and sandwiches with some interesting combinations such as Vadouvan curried chicken, carrot fondue, havarti cheese and asiago cheese.
And then, of course, they will serve gourmet pastizzi (which, by the way, Lovin Malta had called two whole years ago). Pizelli and irkotta? Manouche will take that and raise you pastizzi with beef cheeks, curried pea and pecorino, or maybe rabbit, mushroom, pecorino and masala.
Some other things to know:
– Manouche is super vegetarian-friendly – offering some amazing-sounding dishes such as pies with sheep ricotta, zucchini, pistachios and lemon, or quiches with mushroom, caramelised onion, aged gouda and chives.
-Manouche has a special breakfast menu, and of course we’re not talking run-of-the-mill bacon and eggs here. How about starting off the day with a slice of French toast covered in seasonal berry compote, port and fresh mint?
– As has become trendy these days, Manouche will indeed have a rotating menu. If something catches your eye then you’d better try it out because it might be your last chance…
– You can sit down to eat at the Manouche bakery, but tables are in rather short supply. In fact, it has been designed primarily as a grab-and-go place for midday meals. Oh, and it is already planning deliveries.
– The bakery is just the start, and Manouche will launch a bistro next month, whose kitchen will be connected directly to the bakery – in line with French tradition. The bistro menu is being kept under wraps, but be sure to watch this space…