My favourite local place for my favourite “foreign” food. Under Syrian ownership, there’s a fairly generic middle eastern menu. Situated on Upper Brook Street, behind the Infirmary, it’s in a bit of an odd location. And there’s not much parking round about. But that doesn’t stop folk from coming here and it was quite busy on this weekday evening. No doubt, it’s because it’s a nice casual place, serving good food at very reasonable prices.
There was a good selection of freebie pickles – salty turnip, cabbage, courgette, fiery chillis and some decent olives. Along with pitta, this kept the three of us going until the mezze starters arrived. We’d been restrained in ordering.
Kibbeh were lovely – well seasoned moist lamb encased in crisp wheat. Falafel were also pretty good – although a tad too long in the fryer meant they were overcrisp (OK, burnt). Better were the sujok – good spicing in the sausages here. Fattoush was spot-on – crisp cucumber and radish, toasted pitta, tomato, onion and a dressing really tangy with lemon and sumac. There was more pitta along with tahini sauce and a very pokey tomato based chilli sauce.
There’s a few stew type dishes on the menu but, like most other plates I saw going past, we were having kebabs for a main course. A generous serving of chicken, marinated in the ubiquitous Lebanese garlic “white sauce” which is often served alongside chicken but here now baked on. The other two were having lamb. Good lamb but, like the falafel, a little overcooked for perfection. There was a new chilli sauce served – fruity and with a little less of a kick but no less tasty. And perfectly cooked mixed rice and vermicelli.
Petra is unlicensed but does permit you to bring your own, for which they make a nominal £1 corkage charge. We’d stuck to a couple of soft drinks, mint tea and Arabic coffee. Bill was still under sixty quid.