"Enjoyable Lebanese - but be prepared to wait"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
There has been much talk of Yalla Yalla's Lebanese street food since its opening. One look at the window panes reveal the proudly displayed reviews it has received from Time Out et al. “Isn’t the whole point that it’s to be eaten in the street?” my clearly gastronomically challenged flame said.
Housed in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it section of a tiny alley, it’s ironic that ‘yalla yalla’ means ‘hurry up’ in Arabic, as the place is so small it’s always full. We turned up after a couple of cocktails at around 8 on a Wednesday night to be told to return within an hour. An hour later and we were smashed, having eaten nothing but the olives in our gin martinis over the last few hours.
Thankfully we were brought marinated olives, pickled beetroot and jalapenos to nibble on while looking at the menu, which has mezze as well as bigger portions.
Dishes of soujouk and halloumi with black olives and tomato appeared. Soujouk are spicy sausages common in Lebanese and Greek cuisines, similar in size to chipolatas, marinaded in tomato and lemon juice and with a piquant flavour.
Calamari, whitebait, and prawns in a light batter sat atop thin slices of crispy aubergine, it all tasted a bit too much of deep frying till dipping in the accompanying tzatziki-style dressing.
The ‘kibbe nayye’ or lamb tartar was the definite winner here – little balls of lamb mixed with cracked wheat, mint, basil and spring onion, with a herby taste and melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Along with two slices of pitta bread we were stuffed, this despite having previously been on the brink of extreme starvation. The dishes are cheap too – our meal came to £35 including two glasses of wine.
Our service was good, however others have reported it being slow, particularly when busy. Definitely worth a try, just be prepared to wait.
Leila reviewed Yalla Yalla on Wed 31 Mar 2010