A weekday lunch found me at Yalla Yalla in Soho with a friend. This tiny little Lebanese cafe/restaurant is on a side street slash alley way, so you’d be forgiven for completely missing it, but I understand that it’s a lunch time staple for those working in the area. We struggled to get a seat and the take away queue snaked out of the restaurant.
We ordered the Lunch Time Special for £6.99 which is essentially like a mini mezze platter. It’s not actually on their main website menu as I think it may be exclusive to the Soho branch. The complimentary olives (annoyingly with stones) and chilies were the first to arrive, staving my hunger for a few minutes, and our mezze plates followed soon after. The platter consists of one each of the following:
HOMMOS (I don’t spell it like this) – Chickpea purée, tahini and fresh lemon juice dip (Hands down the best hommos I have ever had – nutty, lemony perfection).
JAWANEH MESHOUE – Charcoal grilled marinated chicken wings with garlic and harissa sauce (TINY wing, but made up for it with the immense flavour. Spicy with a lasting sweetness to it. The flavour penetrated right through rather than just sitting on the skin like you get with most wings).
WARAK ENAB – Stuffed vine leaves with tomatoes, onions, rice, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil (Again, just oozing with juices and spices).
FALAFEL – Chickpea and broad bean patties with salads, tahini and garlic yoghurt sauce.
TABBOULE – Chopped parsley, mint, spring onion, tomato, olive oil, lemon juice and cracked wheat salad.
KIBBE LAHME – Deep fried lamb and cracked wheat parcels filled with onions confit, minced meat and roasted pine nuts (moreish).
and PITA BREAD
It was a small but really satisfying meal. The focus here is definitely on flavours, and despite being a chain, the food is good and I think they may even be better than those places along Edgware Road. They perhaps try a little too hard to be trendy, but this particular branch is so small and so cute, that you can forgive them this desire. Especially when you get really cool takeaway bags like this!