Lebanese in Soho: Yalla Yalla
I first read about Yalla Yalla in Soho a year ago, sad to say it's taken that long to actually get there. Arriving on a late Sunday afternoon, the restaurant was tiny and could probably fit about 20 people max, rather uncomfortably might I add. But the food did not disappoint.
Complimentary olives and pickles were much appreciated to start off, and I give a nod to the £1 charge for tap water for the table which is donated to The Multiple Sclerosis Trust.
First up and definitely the best was the the baba ghanoush, probably the best I've had. The eggplant (aubergine) was delicate and smoky, and it was dressed with olive oil, chopped mint and pomegranate seeds - such a great combination. Mint pairs well with eggplant and the pomegranate seeds burst with extra sweetness.
The second mezze was the Halloum Meshoue - grilled halloumi cheese with a salad of tomato, olives and mint. I absolutely love grilled halloumi cheese, and though this was also grilled wonderfully, the olives were a bit overpowering.
For a shared main, we opted for the Lahem Casserole - slow cooked lamb shoulder. The meat was stewed in tomatos, peppers and swede (a yellow turnip), and was so soft and tender. Toasted pine nuts enhanced the casserole in both taste and texture. This is definitely a winter dish, I could picture myself eating this on a cold night. Too bad it was actually a warm spring afternoon - though no complaints here.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable meal and definitely worth a trip back for a casual lunch. It's especially perfect when wandering in Soho and looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
2 mezzes, 1 main = £20