A beloved Lebanese spot that’s all about big platters and even bigger flavours

Succulent grilled meat, decadent dips and fluffy clay oven baked bread galore... if you know, you know...

By Lucy Holt | Last updated 9 June 2024

Share this story

The good people of Cheadle have a special thing going on with Janan, and they know it. An authentic Lebanese joint that’s especially sociable, it’s the sort of place that every neighbourhood should have at least one of. Ideally more.

With a claim to cult foodie fame too, it’s no surprise that eager customers are known to come back two or three times a week.

Co-owner Zak’s CV also features Remal in Prestwich, a restaurant which is all about Lebanese dishes packed with fresh flavours prepared in a home-cooked style. If you know anyone who has eaten there, then you’re likely to have heard extremely positive things. It has a seriously dedicated following.

Building on his successes in the North Manchester suburb, he’s now teamed up with chef and co-founder Mo to bring their crowd-pleasing dishes to diners south of the M60. Their spot is as big on colour as it is on flavour, a cosy wood-panelled space with patterned murals, stained glass lanterns and traditional Lebanese musical instruments adorning the walls. 

While Janan does cater to vegetarians, it is an experience more squarely aimed at carnivores. Grill maestro Mo is the man who makes this happen, flame-grilling skewers of chicken and lamb, marinaded to varying levels of spice (be warned, the hot ones are not messing around).

It’s all about timing: Mo prides himself on dishes arriving at the table piping-hot and almost unfathomably succulent. And when they do arrive, vast platters of meat and towering bowls of colourful salads make a serious impression.

And while the kebabs, fish dishes and sides are all show-stoppers, it’s a more overlooked menu item that quietly steals the show. Baked daily in a traditional clay oven, slipper-sized flatbreads are served up by the basketful. More fluffy than you could imagine, they’re perfect for tearing and dipping. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like to share, Janan might not be for you. 

Community is very much key to Janan’s success. Mo and Zak feel that the place is at its best in the evenings, when people come together for unhurried catch-ups. It’s easy to see the vision too; relaxed groups of family and friends heaping zesty salads or smooth hummus onto their plates, elbowing each other out of the way for the last perfectly-seared lamb chop or kibbeh (the crispy, teardrop-shaped bulgar wheat croquettes with deeply savoury fillings).

Something that adds to that sociable feel is the fact that Janan is an unlicensed restaurant, meaning you can bring whatever beverages you fancy, alcoholic or non. It’s a nice way to keep the already quite reasonable cost down, and means that you can spend the extra cash saved on an array of intriguing sides, salads and dips.

Speaking of sides, you have to try as many as you can. Whole table loads of them. Of course, the hummus is great, as is the babaganoush, but manager Ladan points us in the direction of a plate of muhammara, a spicy red pepper puree with pomegranate molasses and walnut.

A truly next level flavour combination. Then there’s the house special mutabel, their own take on a smoky aubergine dip for people who like their babaganoush with even more oomph.

One thing you can absolutely say about Janan is that it came about through passion. Zak started out on a very different path in life, getting a masters degree in banking and finance. Growing up in Algeria and inspired by his granny’s home cooking, it was inevitable he’d move into something which would better scratch that creative itch.

The world of banking’s loss is very much our gain. Prepare to make going to Janan a new tradition.