Beyrouths, Balham

Lebanese food is becoming more and more common. The middle-class obsession with hummus has finally boiled over into a quest for authentic tabbouleh and smokey moutabal. I’ve already reviewed the wildly popular Meze in Tooting, but in the quest for somewhere where it’s possible to obtain a booking, I ventured to Beyrouth in Balham.

Situated a stones throw from the tube, on the same row as Franco Manca, it’s a small and welcoming restaurant. I’ve never seen scaffolding used as a design feature before, but it sort of works. The menu is varied and reassuringly simple – we ordered their sharing platter, a mix of hot and cold meze, with both meat and vegetarian options. The waiter was initially concerned that this was designed for four people, my dining companion and I reassured him this would not be a problem, we even ordered some extra halloumi.

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A few minutes later a vast platter of eastern delicacies arrived. I’m not even going to attempt to describe all the dishes. Suffice to say the standard was excellent. The meat was well seasoned and nicely cooked, the salads fresh and balanced. The highlights were the little meaty pastry parcels – heavenly.

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The staff were friendly and attentive, bringing a complimentary dessert when we turned down their other offerings.  They have a wonderful £1 corkage policy and, given that it’s next to a large Sainsburys and Waitrose, you can grab yourself a bottle of something rather special at a fraction of the price of a restaurant list. While it was pretty quiet when we arrived, an hour later it was comfortably full and had a healthy buzz. It’s good quality Lebanese in an incredibly convenient location – grab some friends, order the entire menu and relax.

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