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Tasty Lebanon, Soho, great cheap fresh food

Sometimes you find gems in very unlikely places. Berwick St is in particular known for its market. My Dad who grew up in the fruit and veg world trade used to love taking my brother and I down there most Saturday mornings when we were kids. Partly to stock up on the great produce but also to relive his glory days as a young buck strutting around Covent Garden in the 40s & 50s. The shopping trip was always bookended with a trip to one of the greasy spoons for a fry up treat. There wasn't a lot else around there in those days as Soho was still very much a seedy scruffy area you avoided then came the 90s property boom and the area became the MeeJah colony we know today. So nowadays the market remains but with only a couple of fruit and veg pitches left, the rest is made up of street food stalls selling a wide array of international and artisan foods. However the rest of the street is not a dining destination, there are a couple of sad looking indian restaurants, a busy fish and chip shop, some market cafes, a couple of food sites that seem to change every six months and Yauatcha which has a Michelin star! However into the midst of this rogues gallery Tasty Lebanon has opened.

I had popped out for lunch with my colleague Davy B to grab a Bahn mi baguette from the stall at the market but being early in the week they weren't there. This left us at a loose end as we didn’t fancy the other choices and those that looked good had very lengthy queues. Dave who is an aficionado of the kebab dating back to our university days had noticed Tasty Lebanon on our walk up. It was in one of the units I mentioned that always seem to be changing tenant. However after our meal we hoped this one would linger much longer than the usual 6 months. It is very small inside probably more suited to a coffee shop nevertheless the owners have managed to fit in the counter with rotating elephant leg, open grill, big chiller containing lots of fresh salads and several tables and chairs. They were doing a deal that day of lamb shish and salads for about £6. We took a seat and were served some cracking food.

The lamb shish was moist, tasty and well cut but the star of the show was the mixed salads, everything tasted so fresh, the bulgar wheat salad in particular was outstanding. Lovely pitta bread, pickled chillies on the side washed down with a can of pop. This place isn't flash but it is clean and the food gives you a great big hug. The guys working here had real pride in their food. Interestingly despite being not long open it was full with a steady stream of takeaway punters coming in. I've eaten at chain places like Yalla Yalla or Del Aziz who fail to nail Mediterranean food like this little place on Berwick St did. We left well fed and very happy. I just love it when a little unlikely place like this serves up great food and at last Berwick St has a sit down place worth going to.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Overall rating
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 10

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