Review: Yalla Yalla, Soho

Peeking at the menus
Peeking at the menus

Street food – it’s all the rage. Which is an invitation for all kinds of foreign dishes to hit London as, let’s face it, Britain doesn’t have a street food culture. One might invoke our national obsession with the weather as an explanation for this. One might also invoke the weather as the reason to why a lot of this foreign “street food” is being sold in cafés rather than on the streets.

Yalla Yalla (1 Green’s Court, Soho) is a tiny little café that serves up Beirut “street” food where squeezing around the wooden tables is an achievement in itself. One wall is lined with cushion-filled bench and small stools provide seating for the people opposite. Be prepared to be cosy.

They serve a whole range of tasty Lebanese dishes, including casseroles, grills and meat skewers, along with mezze and wraps. We sampled the following:

Halloum Meshoue
Halloum Meshoue

Halloum Meshoue – grilled halloumi cheese with tomatoes, black olives, fresh mint and olive oil. The mint provided a refreshing contrast to the saltiness of the halloumi. And it’s hard to go wrong  with halloumi. Mmm.

Makale Samak
Makale Samak

Makale Samak – deep fried calamari, white bait and tiger prawns with spring onions, crispy aubergine and chilli minted greek yoghurt. The batter was fairly light, crisp and well-seasoned. Overall, it was pleasant but not outstanding.

AND NOW….the WRAPS! (Can you tell that I enjoyed them?)

Lamb Shawarma
Lamb Shawarma

I took the Lamb Shawarma (£4.50) – slices of marinated lamb, sumac onion, pickled turnips, tomato and tahini sauce. It was so succulent and flavourful. And at a bargain £4.50, I thought life couldn’t get any better.

Then I attacked my sister’s Chicken Shawarma (£4.50) and realised that… yes, life could get better. The wrap was full of a fantastic garlic sauce that basically meant I had to eat half her wrap. I’ve been wistfully thinking about this chicken shawarma ever since. Highly recommended.

Yalla Yalla 4/5 – Cute and cosy café with reasonably-priced and very tasty food. It’s a winner. 

12 Winsley Street, W1W 8HQ; 1 Green’s Court, W1F 0HA; Pop-up branch, 186 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU
When: Various, see website here.

Author: Phoebe Amoroso

Phoebe Amoroso is a Tokyo-based reporter, multimedia journalist and storyteller. Hailing from the UK, she moved to Japan in 2014 and has since been shouting about the country to all who will listen. She divides her time between covering breaking news and producing feature stories for TV; writing about everything from business and tech to food and travel; and guiding hungry visitors who want to sample the best of Japanese cuisine. When not working and/or eating, she can often be found running up a mountain or cycling by the sea.

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