Oxford Dictionary definition of shawarma: (in some Arabic-speaking countries) a doner kebab. The real definition of shawarma is meat on a rotisserie spit, sliced thinly and placed in flatbread with an array of sauces and toppings or heaven in a sandwich.
Shawarma is a relatively new contender in the Dublin food scene; I like to think of it as the Arabic version of a burrito. Being Palestinian, it is always intriguing when a new place claims to sell Arabic food, because it means I can try it and use my expert taste buds to tell if it’s really authentic, or if it’s another place that just smothers everything in garlic mayonnaise and dubs itself as selling ‘Genuine Middle Eastern Food’.
I was beyond ecstatic when I found out that The Shawarma Company had opened, and even more excited that it was so close to Trinity (63 Dame Street). Off I went on the opening day to try it out, and I was not disappointed. I got the chicken shawarma sandwich, and it was unbelievable. The flavours of the chicken were exactly like the ones from home, and instead of using garlic mayonnaise they use ‘mtawame’ or ‘toum sauce’, which is the Arabic version of garlic sauce (no mayonnaise involved). The menu is pretty simple, selling three different types of shawarma sandwiches: chicken, beef, and lamb. They also have hand-cut chips, halloumi fries (so good they deserve a section of their own) and arnabeet mekle (which is Arabic for fried cauliflower; trust me, it’s good). You’d best believe I’ve tried everything on the menu already. The halloumi fries are fantastic. There is nothing more comforting than deep-fried, salty cheese. Halloumi is actually a Cypriot cheese, though it is often used in Arabic countries, and is an obvious crowd-pleaser.
The Shawarma Company are also eco-friendly! They don’t use any plastic; their sandwiches are served in paper wrapping, they use cardboard boxes to serve all of their sides and only have soft drinks in cans. A special mention to the fact that they use canned water, which I personally have not seen being used in many establishments, so props to The Shawarma Company for being environmentally conscious.
A shawarma sandwich costs about €7, and they have a €10 student deal, which gets you a sandwich, fries and a drink. That’s a whole lot of food for a tenner and I can guarantee that, although this will make you want to unbuckle your belt and take a nap on their benches, you’ll still want to go back for seconds and thirds because it’s so delicious. If a tenner is not cheap enough, the Arabesque Society in Trinity give their members 15% off for The Shawarma Company. Isn’t that incentive enough?
Did I mention they stay open until the early hours of the morning? If you feel like you’ve heard Despacito one too many times and need an excuse to escape the swarm of first years still grasping onto Freshers week a month later, The Shawarma Company has you covered with a warm sandwich and a hug (maybe ask if they want to hug you first, I don’t want any harassment suits on my hands). Or maybe if you’re skipping the pubs for the weekend and you just want a delicious, warm takeaway to enjoy in the comfort of your home, you can order The Shawarma Company on Deliveroo. They have you covered for any occasion and, to be honest, if you’ve made it this far and you haven’t gotten a shawarma sandwich yet, you’re probably vegetarian. In which case, get the halloumi fries.