hommos; lahem meshoue (charcoal grill marinated lamb skewers, grilled tomato, sumac onion salad and vermicelli rice); backlawa

Dear Yalla Yalla,

Firstly, I’m sorry for that weird post title. I don’t know what it means, but it sounded right at the time. Secondly, I’m also sorry for screwing up your 100% “I like it” hit rate on Urbanspoon. I was the first person, the first! to say “I don’t like it”. I felt a little mean doing it but hey, nobody’s perfect, so don’t sweat it.


So last week we finally hit you up for a meal. Right across from the British Sex Shop, one way to describe your location is interesting. Another way is um, really hard to find.

Anyway, everyone’s been raving about how amazing you are… so when I finally got around to making a reservation, I was honestly beside myself with excitement.

… but *sigh* dis.ap.point.ment.

soujoc (homemade spicy lebanese sausages); labne bil thum (greek yoghurt with garlic & spring onions); fattoush (salad tossed with crispy pita bread, sumac and red wine vinegar)

It’s not you though. It’s me. Really.

I’m not gonna go into detail because I don’t really think you’re a bad restaurant. I can’t say your food was bad because I don’t normally eat Lebanese food, so what do I know? A big load of fattoush is what I know, yes ha ha, I’m being funny. Not.

I do know though that the service was really slow. It’s not like you’re a big place, right? There are what, eight tables? And three waitresses? And yet we waited (for a long time) to be seated, waited for our menus, the food came out all right, but then we waited for the bill. It’s not a hard thing, running eight tables.

yalla yalla_03

Out of all the stuff we ordered, I really did like the labne bil thum (greek yoghurt with garlic & spring onions). That was divine and I wanted to lap it up from the plate. The hommos was also nice but y’know, hommos from Marks & Spencers is nice.

I expected the lahem meshoue (grilled lamb) to be crazy soft, but actually it was chewy. Maybe that’s how you’re meant to do it, like I said, I don’t know. But I didn’t like it much. The rice was nice, it tasted like lamb. Mmmm lamb flavoured rice!

All in all, Yalla Yalla, I thought the food was a little underwhelming. You know what though? I don’t like parsley. That could be the problem right there because it seems to me like parsley is a staple in Lebanese dishes. If that’s the case, it is not your fault at all.

backlawa selection; yalla coco (coconut mousse and mango sorbet)

The desserts were ok. Backlawa is always delicious, right? I wasn’t so hot on the Yalla Coco though ~ that’s one of those pre-packaged ice cream desserts that’s served mainly at Italian restaurants. The mousse was still frozen solid, but the mango sorbet, that was good.

So, Yalla Yalla, I think this is where our relationship ends, but I hope it’s not on bad terms. It’s totally me and my dislike for parsley, which is right up there with coriander. Yuck.

But you know, you’ll be ok because believe me when I say everyone loves you. They do. And I’m sure it’s because your food really is very good, or maybe because your waitresses are pretty. But who cares, they love you way more than they love me.

See you around,

Yalla Yalla
1 Greens Court
London, W1F 0HA

Yalla Yalla Beirut Street Food on Urbanspoon

13 Thoughts on “it’s not you, it’s me: not so yalla for Yalla Yalla

  1. I think this is my all time favourite post of yours. Says it all really. I still want to try it, mainly cos I do quite like parsley.

  2. I love this post but have to say that contrary to you (but like everyone else) I did love Yalla Yalla – I think for atmosphere, interesting food and the price point it is hard to go past. But I do agree it is hard to find!

  3. I heard their food has gone downhill through a variety of twitter sources. Bit of a shame really :S , though on my visit the once rumoured to be excellent baby chicken was very dry. I would still return for the lamb tartare though.

  4. Oh and really enjoyed the break up letter. As they say to each her own – no need to apologise, just speaketh the truth cattylicious 😀

  5. tehbus: thanks for the awesome comment dude 😀 well I think you should definitely go. If you like parsley, you’ll be in heaven!

    Gourmet Chick: I know it’s just me! I blame parsley.

    Kang: WELL! When I went they were all out of Lamb tartar!! FAIL right there *sigh*

  6. Very funny and entertaining post. I’ve fancied trying Yalla Yalla for a while, interesting to hear a less than enthuiastic review as for the most part they’ve been very good.
    Don’t like parsley or coriander?!!

  7. LOL. I still want to go though. I’ll give it that I think Houmous is a hard one to get right for everyone. And if you don’t like Parsley, then you have a bit of a problem with key Lebanese dishes…

  8. Essex Eating: “don’t like” is an understatement.. more like they make me GAG but hey yeah – you should definitely still go try LOL… 🙂

    FoodByMark: And yes, you should still go too! I mean, really, I did make it clear didn’t I that it wasn’t like they had bad food.. I just don’t like parsley and as you’ve pointed out, I was screwed from the get go. Oh well 😉

  9. Ahh yes parsley is quite abundant in Lebanese cuisine. But some places definitely do better Lebanese than others I have found 🙂

  10. It’s all about the parsley in Lebanon…and corriander…and garlic… It’s true though it’s either you stomach it or you don’t! Lahm meshwe should not have been chewy at all! Thanks for your honest reportage!

  11. Lorraine: Yes, I’ve learnt about the abundance of parsley now.. haha.. I really wouldn’t know good from bad Lebanese though, I don’t eat it often enough.

    Bethany: LOL parsley and coriander, my two mortal enemies! Why why did I ever go to Yalla Yalla? Oh right cos I’m a sheep and everyone said it was good. But anyway, like I said I’m sure they are good, it’s just me… but yes the lamb was chewy!!

  12. I would find it rather difficult to review a restaurant if I didn’t like a key ingredient in it’s cuisine…!

  13. Lizzie: yeeeah it was a toughie but I wanted to try it out cos everyone raves so much about it! Anyway I would hardly call anything I write “reviews” more like… meanderings of a slightly A.D.D. mind 😉

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