Popular Middle Eastern street vendor, Knafeh Bakery, is expanding its Western Sydney business, with the owners’ sights set on conquering Melbourne, Brisbane and overseas markets.
Known as the ‘bearded brothers’, Ameer and Joey El-Issa (pictured) have teamed up with their sister Mouna Emsis to produce their mother’s sweet recipes in a quirky pop-up-style hybrid premises: a shipping container adorned with street art.
Mamma Nabila’s knafeh recipe – the bakery’s namesake – is a cheese pastry soaked in a sweet sugar-based syrup. It’s a rich, sweet, sticky and crunchy traditional dessert from Jerusalem, however, Ameer says his mother’s recipe is a lighter and creamier interpretation. It is served with crumbled pistachio topping and doused in sugar syrup.
The El-issa family’s version of knafeh established a strong following at its Shisha Bar and Grill business in Croydon Park. Its popularity sparked the idea to convert a shipping container into a purpose-built bakery serving only knafeh and the perfect accompaniment, sweet Moroccan tea.
The siblings are currently in the process of fitting-out two more mobile shipping containers to dock into five country towns on their way to Victoria in July, before heading to Queensland later in the year. The team also has its sights set on US and UK markets.
“Mum is overwhelmed by the response. We all feel so blessed we can take mum’s recipe and passion and share it with the rest of the world,” Ameer said.