Skip from St John’s wood station along Grove end Road and you’ll come to the famous Abbey Road crossing surrounded by the obligatory swarm of tourists. We wormed our way through and up to Blenheim Terrace to Yasmeen.
As we walked up past Abbey Road studios we also passed plenty of beautiful flats & houses, playing the dream home game. I found mine!
I would have never heard of this gem if I had not been for the Londonist – definitely something worth keeping an eye on for snazzy new joints!
Rachel and I visited on a Tuesday after winning a competition with the Londonist for a free meal.
Yasmeen is a new Lebanese restaurant and I can tell you now, it’s worth it’s weight in gold – even without their beautiful gold tables that line their canopied terrace.
It was only 7pm and it was pretty quiet – so sue me, I get hungry early during the week! We took seats under the conservatory, this makes for a beautiful, light and airy space – perfect for food photos!
Nibbles were placed on the table and we scanned the menus and had already found 101 things which we liked, so asked our lovely waitress to recommend a few to save our indecisive minds.
To be completely honest, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with anything you choose, but here’s what we ordered.
Grape vine leaves filled with rice, tomato and parsley cooked in olive oil – a middle eastern classic. Vesty, fresh and served cool, very refreshing.
A middle eastern take on a pizza is what our waitress explained it as. This is dramatically underselling the deliciousness! Mince infused with herbs layered with a haloumi like cheese encased in flatbread and baked.
Yep, it’s as amazing as it sounds!
We basically couldn’t decide what hummus to go for so decided on the one with the most ingredients & had no regrets. Lemony, smooth and herby, it’s perfect piled high on pita bread or topping any of the other starters.
Y’all know halloumi. The squeakiest, saltiest and yet down right delicious cheese to grace this fine planet. At Yasmeen they scatter each grilled piece with sesame seads and are brought hot to the table. A perfect addition to our feast of starters!
After decking out our table with this plethora they topped it off with pitas, adding we could have as much as our bellies could fit!
We munched through mixing and matching each mouthful. Absolutely divine flavour combinations to be had!
Then, whilst we were working our way through the hor d’Oeuvres came the mains. Rachel ordered Shish Taouk. Chicken marinated in a mix of garlic & lemon, then grilled with a choice of salad, fries or fragrant rice.
I was intrigued by the concept of Kofta yoghurtlei, so took the plunge. Tender pieces of lamb in a pool of seasoned yoghurt, okay it may not sound that appetizing as I write it, but trust me and try it. The crispy pita croutons work perfectly to mop up the delicious yoghurt!
We picked our way through as much as we could, but had to ask for a doggy bag to enjoy the next day.
Little did we know desserts were on the way.
A pannacota style pudding with a subtle taste of rose and topped with pistachios, named Mouhalabia. I don’t normally like floral flavours, but due to it’s subtlety, I could have finished the whole thing by myself.
A tart filled with a pistachio paste came next, The pastry was crisp and no soggy bottoms in sight. This was accompanied by the smoothest vanilla ice cream you could ask for was also a crowd pleaser.
Last but certainly not least the baklava. Soft filo pastry wrapped finely chopped pistachios all crumbling away in your mouth into a buttery, sugary mess. Pure heaven.
All washed down with a rose water and Lebanese coffee.
Now as I said I don’t normally go for rose, this was Rachel’s choice. The smell was sweet, floral and intense, the taste however was so delicate. Apparently very good for the digestion – definitely needed after this meal!
I’d never had Lebanese coffee prior to this occasion, I was reliably informed it is like a rich espresso & I was not disappointed. As my mother says a good coffee should be like your men, rich, smooth & strong (Oooo, Matron).
The lovely owner, Soulieman, even read my coffee grains at the end of the cup. Seeing something good is coming my way, 7 the Lebanese number of support through harder times but due to a sunny disposition I’ll get through anything. Even if I don’t believe in it, I like the sound of it!