Apr 26 2015

Yalla Yalla


Yalla Yalla is a tiny Lebanese café hidden away in Soho (they also have 2 other branches north of Oxford Street and in Shoreditch, but I have not been to these). Yalla Yalla calls itself a Beirut Street Food café and serves Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine made by chef/ owner Jad Youssef and his wife Aga. It is hidden away from the main street and it only seats 30 people at best. When we came here on Sunday lunch time they had problems seating the 4 of us, and we had to wait for some people to leave before we got a table. The restaurant has wooden tables and due to its small size feels cosy, I also liked the pictures of Beirut on the wall and bright cushions and the bright yellow colour décor, which all made this a very welcoming place.

At Yalla Yalla you can either order mezze to share, main courses, coffee and pastry for breakfast or lunch specials for lunch. There were 4 of us eating lunch and we decided to share a few mezze dishes. Arturs wanted to have the dish of sautéed chicken liver with garlic and pomegranate. Unfortunately I did not try this, as I don’t like liver dishes, but this has been voted one of the top 100 best dishes in London and also is Yalla Yalla’s signature dish. Arturs seemed to like it but could not finish the whole portion. Besides the chicken liver we also ordered “Hommos Shawarma”, hommos topped with marinated thin slices of lamb, fattoush and tabboule salads, both of which I love and always order in Lebanese restaurants as well as “Halloum Meshoue” or grilled halloumi cheese with tomato, black olives, fresh mint and olive oil. We also ordered falafel for my friend Guna, who likes it, “Makale Samak” for my friend Una, who likes the deep fried tiger prawns, calamari and white bait with spring onions, crispy aubergine and chilli minted Greek yoghurt and Soujoc or home-made spicy Lebanese sausages with tomato, parsley and lemon juice for me.

I do genuinely think that Lebanese food is quite similar in the many Lebanese restaurants across the city with very little noticeable difference, but as I was eating the salads at Yalla Yalla, I felt like I could feel a difference. They just had a tiny bit of excitement to them and creativity in taste, just a bit more wow factor, than the average fattoush and tabboule salads. Also the vegetables in the fattoush salad were cut up in smaller pieces than normally, which I think made it nicer. Halloumi was nice too, good with the black olives it was served with. I also very much liked the Hommos Shawarma with the lamb as well as the soujoc sausage, although Una thought it was too salty. The falafel was decent too, although I have had better. I was not a fan of the bread though, I would not say it felt stale but it could have been better. I was also not a massive fan of the fried seafood, the pieces of fish for me were too small and so it ended up being a lot of batter and very little fish in each piece. After our meal we also had some lovely baklava and tea, a nice end to the meal.

I do think Yalla Yalla has a bit more character than your average Maroush Lebanese restaurant. It feels less touristy and more like a cute London find due to its location and small size. Also as I said I did think some of the dishes tasted a bit different than you would get in your average Lebanese restaurant, although the menu is very typical and features dishes you would expect to find in any Lebanese restaurant.

Date: 26/ 04/ 15
Location: Soho
Price for 4 people, no alcohol: £66.72

Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food on Urbanspoon

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Yalla Yalla
1 Green's Court W1F 0HA
United Kingdom
Yalla Yalla Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5