★ ★ ★ ★
Food ordered [06/14/12]:
- hommos awarma (hommos with pan fried diced lamb) £6.50
- lahem meshwi (grilled lamb) £11.95
- shish taouk (grilled chicken) £11.95
This was my first time dining here and I ate a late dinner with my good friend, L. I have to admit to never having tried Lebanese food previous to this occasion. I requested "something different but good" from L... and was very pleased with his suggestion. The restaurant itself is a little out of the way, nowhere near a convenient train station or anything like that. I suggest driving-- there is easily accessible metered parking around the corner.
So L is British, and with it comes the (in my opinion) unnecessary predilection for tea. He was raving about the tea at this place and I can only say it was the first of the many happy surprises of meal. The tea was lightly mint-flavoured with a lovely undercurrent of bitterness. Rather indescribable and perfectly suited to the meal.
I have never had hummous that I have liked more. (This has a caveat.) I could never say before that I liked hummous, more likely that I tolerated it, but this was amazing. It was creamy but still had a sufficiently substantial texture. It was rich but had a beautiful nutty flavouring overlaying it all. The lamb was fatty and greasy but still rather suited the hummous.
My stomach is rumbling while writing this just thinking about this meal. The chicken was good, but not special on its own. Delicately flavoured but not a particularly great texture. The real strength of the entree is the mix of the textures and tastes of the entire dish together. What looks like rice in the dish is actually very short(-grained?) vermicelli with a beautiful earthy flavour. The substance in the little cup is a frothy concoction something like a whipped yogurt, perfectly light and relieving to the palate. Lastly, my favourite portion of the entree are the small, colourful pickles on the side. They provided a bright, crispy punch to the rich, rolling flavours of the rest of the meal.
I thoroughly recommend a visit though I do recognize my enthusiasm may not be shared by those more familiar with the cuisine (and better suited to judge its quality).