Finally followed up on Howler's Ishbilia recommendation. With Limster and Zuriga, no less! I had tried to get in here about a month ago, also on a Sunday afternoon, and it was mobbed. Today wasn't so bad.
Firstly--Howler, if you haven't been recently, they've redecorated. I almost thought I was in the wrong place when I walked in because it looked so different. Sorta looks like a hotel restaurant now. Not bad, but not very compelling, if you know what I mean.
Secondly, have to give a nod to the service. I got to the restaurant before Limster and Zuriga, and they gave me a complimentary coffee as I was waiting. I thought this was really sweet.
They charge a £2 cover per person, which I'd guess is for the huge plate of fresh veggies they bring to the table, along with a nice salad (great dressing) that's a decent enough size to share. Normally I'm not a fan of these types of covers, but the plate of veggies alone made it worth it.
We started with the eggplant dip (starts with an M) and Howler's recommendation of the foul muqqala. Both were excellent, and I loved the sesame seed pita that came alongside.
For mains, we went with a lentil dish which I loved...nice earthy, meaty flavor. And again Howler's rec, the kibbeh nayeh (raw minced lamb with herbs and onions). I have never eaten that much raw meat before in one sitting, but I will be glad to do so again. It was really great.
We escaped at £20 a head (stuck with sparkling water and mint tea). A fantastic value, in my book. I'll be back.
It was really nice to meet some people from the boards...hopefully we can arrange something with a larger group at some point soon. If you are interested in being on the To list, drop me an email at kristainlondon at gmail dot com.