I’d never given much thought to Lebanese food until the first time I actually tried some. I haven’t looked back since because my mezze feast was awesome. I now jump at the chance to get me some Lebanese food and these are the places I have found so far- you can bet this list will keep updating as I find more:
Until I first went to Comptoir Mezze, I didn’t know how great Lebanese food could be. The place is round the corner from one of my friend’s houses in Kensal Rise, North London, so one night we ended up there for dinner- and we have been back multiple times since. Their batata harra – spiced and diced potatoes – are insane, I mean seriously, who knew potatoes could taste that good?! You can accompany those potatoes with other mezze dishes involving hummus, halloumi, aubergine and falafel options. You will leave happy.
One weekend, I met with a friend to visit one of the multiple museums in South Kensington- probably the Natural History Museum. We grabbed some lunch beforehand and then wandered into somewhere that looked like an exotic deli after spotting what we thought were cakes. The place actually turned out to be a Lebanese restaurant so we left to find our cake fix elsewhere. However, the place looked great so went back on our next museum trip to the V&A. I ordered a halloumi wrap with an extra platter of pickles, salad and hummus. That was a good move because the dip made my wrap so much better.
My friend’s lamb tagine looked even better however so on my next visit that’s what I ordered- and it was good. On that occasion, unlike my first trip, the service wasn’t great and some of my party had to wait a long time for their food, but then it was so busy we had to sit outside on the seats furthest from the restaurant. At least the food made up for that.
3. Yalla Yalla near Oxford Street
Yalla Yalla on Winsley Street is a stone’s throw away from Oxford Street but it seems like a lot further. Whilst Oxford Street on a Saturday couldn’t be busier if it tried, the hustle, bustle and stress seemed to disappear as soon as we turned off the main road. Thank god. Even though it is not hard to find at all, Yalla Yalla, felt a bit hidden away. The inside of the restaurant felt kind of like a ski lodge. I mean, I’ve never been to a ski lodge but the place was made up of wooden floors and wooden walls, which is what I imagine a ski lodge to look like.
On this occasion, my lunch buddies and I didn’t go for mezze to share so instead I got myself a vegetarian platter. A vegetarian option may not sound like me but it had halloumi and I wanted halloumi (although I ended up trading half of it for some of my friend’s lamb because it looked that good).
A few weeks ago, The Flatmate and I were on the hunt for somewhere for lunch. Our fridge was broken so there was nothing edible in the house except plain pasta and rice. Our initial destination had been our regular haunt (which we went to one time) Hood but it was closed for staff training so instead we ended up at ilili nearby instead. The restaurant was empty in the middle of a weekday so we had it to ourselves. It was a hot day and the front of the restaurant had been opened up, making us feel like we were in a warmer climate. Then there was the food.
I like to think everything happens for a reason so I think Hood was closed so we would end up here. Our feast of minced lamb balls covered in deep fried pastry, aubergine pieces cooked in tomato sauce with chickpeas, halloumi cheese grilled in some Lebanese flatbread and potatoes cooked with garlic, coriander, pepper and chillies were amazing.