The name of the restaurant means “Let’s go.” And go we did. In fact, I managed to go there twice. On the first occasion, we booked in Winsley Street, Fitzrovia. Upon arrival, you could not help but notice the Lebanese art themed interior. We had stepped inside to a place full of character, lanterns and Middle East promise.
The banquette seating was made more comfortable with decorative pillows and the table was suddenly full of small plates. It seems that we had ordered quickly. The sharing mezze platter for one, was really enough for two and we devoured hommos, baba ghanuj, tabbouleh, falafel, natural labné, cheese samboussek, warm flatbread and pickles. I ordered an additional plate of Falafel as they were delicious. The Menabrea Blonde beer mixed bitter, floral and fruity undertones with a malty, hoppy taste and was served ice cold. It was a perfect accompaniment to the Chicken Kofta grilled ground chicken, herbs, peppers, onion & spices which followed.
There is something about sharing food which this restaurant encourages so well. At this point we felt quite full but remained eager to try the desserts. After a short interlude, we elected to order mango and vanilla cheesecake topped with a layer of sweet mango, pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts and baklawa and fresh rose and mint infused tea. A second teacup was proffered without drama.
Now we really didn’t want to go from the restaurant.
Until that was a few weeks later when Dr Watson, messaged me to say that he was in London and would I have time to join him for a coffee. No this wasn’t Dr. Watson, the fictional English physician who is Sherlock Holmes’s devoted friend and associate in a series of detective stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Arrangements were made, then postponed, throughout a busy day, until I dropped everything when I heard he was already ensconced in Yalla Yalla, Soho.
“Let’s go” beckoned again, only to arrive in a much smaller version of the Fitzrovia restaurant with packed tables and to be told that Dr Watson and his friend, who had already eaten, had to vacate the table within ten minutes of my arrival. Not to be disheartened, I decided to order a similar menu to the above, whereas the manager graciously decided to move us to a table of three and afforded me the requisite time to eat my dinner. The beers arrived and then the cheesecake.
I can honestly say, the second time was as good as the first. There is something about this Lebanese food and preparation which makes me really excited. Whenever I hear the words, Yalla Yalla, I want to go. If you haven’t, I really urge you to. Maybe I will join you.