Shawarma Time – Ellice Avenue

Update on Shawarma Time (Apr 28,2019)
It’s been a little under two years since I last visited Shawarma Time. However I was meeting with a friend whom I haven’t had seen much of since I finished my time working at St. Margaret’s. I was back there for a farewell for someone else, just before Easter, and when I ran into Kurt, I said we should make plans to get together sometime during the week after Holy Week.

Shawarma Time is Now Closed. There is a new restaurant called, Bread and Biryani, opening soon at that location. 

Shawarma Time fries
The Shawarma Time Fries were good and crispy, well cooked and hot.

As things worked out, I didn’t get around to calling him until early Thursday of last week, and we made plans to get together at Shawarma Time Friday at noon. Of course, as these things work out, we ran into each other about two hours later at Thom Bargen Coffee. We both had other plans so we just stuck to our Friday meeting town.

Hours

Mon – Sat : 10 A.M – 9 P.M
Sun : Closed
I arrived at Shawarma Time just a couple of minutes before Kurt, which was enough time to take a quick look around. It wasn’t much changed from previous visits but it did feel neater and cleaner than on previous stops. The other thing I noticed is that there were several customers who were arriving at the same time as we were, so I’d get a chance to check it out under busier conditions than previously.

Cucumber Salad
The cucumber salad has a strong, garlicky dressing.

I was looking for something a little on the lighter side, so I ordered a small cucumber salad and a small order of fries. Despite there being several customers in the restaurant we got our order in good time. When it came I could see it was a good choice to go with the small sizes. The salad had a strong, garlicky dressing, that was rich and quite filling. The fries were really crisp, and they maintained that crispiness even as they started to cool down. Kurt had one of the Shawarma wraps and enjoyed it thoroughly.
We ended up sitting in a little alcove which meant that although there were quite a few people in the restaurant at the same time we were, we were able to converse quite easily without worrying about other conversations cutting into ours. It was a good time of catching up, and I want to thank Kurt for treating me to lunch as well. 
Incidentally, Kurt works at St. Margaret’s where he oversees the planning of their various lecture series, and there is a new one starting this coming Thursday, May 2nd. If you’re in Winnipeg, check them out. 
Shawarma Time on the corner of Ellice Avenue and Sherbrook Street is one of the oldest Shawarma places in Winnipeg. Despite having lived in the area for the best part of 13 years, I’ve only gone in a couple of times over the years. The main reason for not stopping in was that although the food was quite good, I found the place to be a little on the run down side, and not a particularly pleasant space.

Shawarma Time Grape Leaves
The stuffed grape leaves from Shawarma Time

However, recently I went back because I was looking for something good and cheap. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in to see that they have made some changes to the decor. The most notable thing is large, flat screens that display the menu and catch your eye as you walk in. This has reduced the number of unattractive pictures that lined the one wall. In general the tables and chairs also look much better and the general cleanliness of the place is much higher.
I was quite hungry my first visit, so I decided I would order a couple of appetizers and one of their pies. I chose Stuffed Grape Leaves, Kibbe, and one of the their Cheese and Spinach Pies.

The Stuffed Grape Leaves, shown in the picture at the top of this post, were served with a vinegar dressing. This dressing worked well with the sweetness of the grape leaves themselves. Neither flavour was too strong and the rice filling in the grape leaves was good and chewy.
I’ve only had Kibbe one other time, and that was when I reviewed the Best Meal food truck. That Kibbe was quite enjoyable, but the Shawarma Time Kibbe is even better. The allspice shines through in the taste, and their version of Tahini which they serve on the side is rich and creamy almost like thick whipped cream in texture.

Sharwarm Time Kibbe
Deep-fried Kibbe from Shawarma Time.

As hungry as I was, if I had known how filling the Spinach-Cheese pie was going to be, I probably would have dropped one of the other two items out of my order. This pie is essentially a pita that is filled with spinach and cheese. The pie was large, but I was a little skeptical before I cut into it. I’ve had too many dishes that looked large on the outside but when you opened it up there wasn’t anything inside

Shawarma Time Spinach and Cheese Pie
A well filled and very tasty Cheese and Spinach Pie

Not the case with this pie. There was not a bite that didn’t have a rich mix of spinach and cheese. The seasoning was light, allowing the cheese and spinach flavours to come through.

Shawarma Time Shawarma

Naturally, one can’t visit a place named Shawarma Time without tasting the Shawarma. I did however, learn my lesson from my first visit. Ordering the second time around, all I ordered was the Shawarma Wrap.
I chose a Beef Shawarma Wrap. I was asked when I ordered whether or not I wanted hot sauce in it. I told them to make it as hot as they possibly could. I took a seat and waited for my order to be ready.
There are two televisions in the restaurant. One in the front corner of the space shows CNN and the other was showing a movie in Arabic. My knowledge of Arabic being virtually non-existent, I chose the one showing CNN. I tried not to get to frustrated as I watched the daily side-show that passes for White House press briefings these days.

Shawarma Wrap
A loaded Shawarma Wrap.

Once the Shawarma arrived I took off the wrapping to get a picture of it. As you can see from the photo above, the wrap just flopped open. The reason being it was stuffed with good ingredients. In keeping with the CNN?White House Theme, it was so large I doubt Donald Trump could get his hands around it.
There was lots of beef, tomatoes, cabbage, etc. There was even a fair bit of hot sauce. They had underestimated my ability to take the heat, but they still served a nice bit of spice in the wrap.
The wrap also proved that I had made the right decision in only ordering the wrap. The wrap is a meal in itself. Not only in quantity of food, but with enough variety of ingredients that you end up with a pretty well balanced meal all wrapped up into dish.
The service is quite friendly. My food came in quite good time, although both times I went, I was the only one dining in. So, I’m not sure what it would be like at peak times. Still, if you want a really good, filling meal, Shawarma Time is always worth checking out.
Shawarma Time Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato.

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