Throughout the years people of Ontario have had the chance to dive into the world of Middle Eastern cuisine through the very successful restaurant chain Paramount Fine Foods. I was first introduced to Paramount around four years ago by a good friend who brought me there for the very first time while I was still working in Mississauga. I have loved it ever since.
The fresh, healthy, and authentic flavours that Paramount Fine Foods prepares is what makes them the juggernaut of Middle Eastern cuisine it is today. With its growing popularity year after year Paramount Fine Foods is expanding its locations to other provinces in Canada and also into the United States and Dubai later this year. What is even more exciting is not only is it opening up more locations in North America, this year it has also created a new spin-off franchise called Fresh East, a health-conscious deli that serves up Middle Eastern subs and shawarmas.
Fresh East tops the good old-fashioned sub with a splash of authentic Middle Eastern flavours through its new quick-serve restaurant concept, where diners can try the savoury flavours of the Middle East and customize the sub or shawarma to their liking. On the menu is a wide selection of freshly baked breads, fresh produce, halal deli meats, and authentic homemade secret sauces. Fresh East is also the first halal-certified quick-serve sandwich shop, catering to halal and health-conscious diners.
Much like the success of Paramount Fine Foods serving up Halal meats, Fresh East will be no different as it will surely act as another go-to place to get your halal meats into your diet. Halal is essentially meat (excluding pork, meat from any carnivorous animals or birds of prey) that has been prepared according to strict Islamic guidelines. These guidelines require that the meat must be prepared in a specific way where the animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain any animal by-products. Doing so allows the maximum amount of blood to drain from the animal’s body, since blood in meat makes it more susceptible to rotting which will also negatively impact its taste. As a result, halal meat tastes better, is healthier and stays fresh longer giving Fresh East a competitive advantage to other similar sandwich shops who do not focus and sell halal meats to their customers.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to go to Fresh East’s second location inside the food court at the newly renovated Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga, Ontario (the first one opened up last September at Western University that focused more on the student population). After meeting with the manager, he provided me with two of the most popular subs which are the classic halal cold cuts and chicken shawarma. Much like Subway, you can choose from ordering a 6 inch sub or a foot long (12 inch). You then choose your meats, cheese, toppings, and sauces to go along with it. To make it a combo you can pay an extra $2.65 and you can add a drink, two cookies, two pieces of baklava, or chips.
As Fresh East is centered around serving Middle Eastern cuisine, you can expect the staples here as well such as falafels, kafta, chicken and beef shawarmas, tabbouleh/fattoush salads, lentil soup, and even a yogurt drink. One unique set of dishes I saw here were their “Sandwich In The Bowl.” I’m sure we have all experienced in the past just how messy eating a sandwich or shawarma can be with all the toppings and sauces dripping down your hands as you take your next bite. Well this Sandwich In A Bowl solves that problem. You can order a beef shawarma, roast beef, shish tawouk, kafta, among an endless list of other possibilities all in a bowl form, mess free! Fresh East also has breakfast covered by offering various forms of Egg n’ Cheese in a 6 inch sub or croissant.
What I would recommend here? Definitely get the classic halal cold cut sub here. It is packed with so much flavour. I normally stray away from cold cuts as I tend to find them a bit bland and boring to eat, but my taste buds were blown away with this one. You really can taste the difference through the freshness of their halal meats. The baklava pastries are also delicious and a great addition to have as your side.
Fresh East officially opened for business last month and two more are set to follow in the GTA this fall as well as additional U.S locations. Keep an eye out for Fresh East in the coming years as I am sure more and more locations will be popping up in a neighborhood near you.
Fresh East’s newest location is now open near Yonge and Dundas Square (334 Yonge Street), just north of Dundas and right across the Ryerson Student Learning Centre. Now is the perfect time if you are in the downtown area to try Fresh East and their Middle Eastern subs and shawarmas!