Last Friday I tried out the new Lebanese restaurant, Dalila, in Battersea. I LOVE Lebanese food, it’s one of my favourite cuisines and this one didn’t disappoint. In fact it was so good that James and I ordered takeout the next day (delivered to us in Brixton, yay) and then spent the next week cooking up our dishes inspired by Dalila. If that’s not a sign of a good restaurant (or my boyfriend’s tendency to get slightly obsessed with things) then I’m not sure what is!
We walked in to a quiet, smart restaurant and were shown to a round table in the corner – laughingly commenting that this was the first ‘proper’ restaurant we’d been into in a while – no exposed brick walls? Chairs with backs? Tablecloths?!
We started with large beers for the boys and cocktails for the girls – sadly the website is being updated so I can’t check exactly what went into these incredible cocktails but the main ingredient was pomegranate and vodka… perfect!
And then the food. We ordered a LOT of it – well, there were five of us and at least two were very greedy. We went for the Gourmet Menu for four, plus some extra dishes and ended up with:
– hommos beiruty (humous with garlic and parsley)
– hommos awarma (humous topped with lamb)
– moutabal (aubergine puree)
– Fattoush (salad with toasted bread)
– samboussek lamb (or Lebanese Cornish pasties as we called them)
– batata harra (potato cubes)
– Halloum Meshwe (grilled halloumi)
– Jawaneh (charcoal grilled chicken wings)
– Soujok (spicy sausages)
– mixed grill
– Chicken shawarma
– Farrouj Meshwi (grilled boneless marinated chicken)
(Half way through eating – flatbread and soujoc on my plate, halloumi on the right hand side in the distance)
Plus several more beers and a bottle of the Lebanese house white and the Lebanese house red. Both of these were really tasty although to be fair by the time I moved onto the white it was perhaps too late to appreciate the taste!
Every dish we ordered was wonderful, some of the best Lebanese food I’ve tasted, and my friend said it tasted exactly like the food did when he was in the Middle East. The crispy, charcoal skin of the chicken had soft and tender meat underneath, the lemon-y marinade of the Farrouj Meshwi gave it a wonderfully tangy flavour. Jawaneh – chicken wings – were huge, smoky and succulent. Soujok were tiny and juicy, the Halloum Meshwe was ridiculously buttery (in a good way) as if it had been cooked in a whole lump of butter. Well you’re never going to order grilled halloumi if you’re on a diet are you?! I love anything to do with lamb and the samboussek didn’t disappoint. The fattoush – the salad – was almost my highlight though. It was so light, the toasted bread not greasy at all, and dressed so well with lemon juice, olive oil, and sumac – a lovely complement to all the meat we were eating.
We shared a chocolate fudge cake and a Lebanese cheesecake for pudding, although I was too stuffed to eat any of it, while a few of us had whiskies to end the night.
Have you noticed a theme? LOTS of food and lots of alcohol. The bill came to £250 which, after how cheap everything was in Granada a few weeks ago, felt like a bit of a shock, but given how much we ate and drank I think it was actually pretty reasonable. Especially as that included a tip; the staff were so wonderfully friendly and helpful, all with big smiles, that a large tip was well-deserved.
The next day James and I phoned up and ordered takeaway – another farrouj meshwi, hommos awarma, fattoush, halloumi and the arayes – arayes are flatbread filled with minced, spiced lamb, squashed downwards and grilled. These were incredible, especially dipped in hummous. It arrived about 40 minutes after we called, the food piping hot and still light and fresh rather than the heavy grease of many takeaways – one of the best takeaways I’ve ever had.
If you like Lebanese food and live in South London … actually, if you’ve never tried Lebanese food and live anywhere in London I would really recommend trekking over to Battersea to give this wonderful restaurant a try!