Whether you're looking for a Middle Eastern feast or some light Lebanese treats, we've found the perfect place.
THE LOWDOWN / LOCATION
This upmarket Lebanese restaurant is in the well-heeled town of Weybridge, on the corner of Church Street and Limes Road. It’s run by husband and wife team Edward Terry and Rita Cherfan. Rita – the Lebanese half of the partnership – is the executive chef and Edward runs the front of house. The restaurant has been open in Weybridge for 11 years, and just over three years ago opened another branch on the Old Brompton Road in Kensington – which I think says something about how good it is.
It’s recently had a bit of a growth spurt, expanding into the former Hussain Tandoori restaurant that was next door, but the expansion hasn’t taken away from the classical Middle Eastern vibe with rich reds and lush furnishings. The interior is split into three separate areas: the bar area which houses a long timber bar and baby grand piano, the rear dining room with its vaulted ceiling and wrought iron chandelier and the new dining room just off the bar area.
During the week, Middle Eastern music wafts through the sound system but on a Saturday night that baby grand is is fired up and with resident pianist Pasqual tinkling the ivories.
There are big soft sofas in rich deep reds, and the bar is lined with velvet stools in reds and mustard yellows. You’re welcome to drop in for just a drink – there’s a pretty mean cocktail list going on here and pretty much every gin a girl could possibly want – but to come here and bypass the food would be a travesty.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The menu is extensive and, if I’m being totally honest, choosing isn’t easy with so many dishes on offer from mezzes and salads to platters and things like stews. Frankly, I wanted a bit of everything. Luckily they have a range of suggested menus to make things a bit easier, and on the Friday lunchtime I went with Mr Muddy we opted for the seafood suggested menu for two. I washed it all down with a large glass of crisp dry Lebanese white wine.
The suggested menu was a great way to go for a lunchtime meal – all six dishes came out at the same time – and we took our time sampling little bits of each one. The seafood menu (£22 per person) includes kraydes (shrimps in olive oil and garlic), sabeedish saute (squid with mixed peppers), tabbouleh, moudardara (rice with lentils and fried onion), samak bizri (whitebait) and batinjan rahib (grilled eggplant salad). If you order this menu for three, another three dishes are added (squid, a yoghurt/cucumber/mint salad and spinach parcel) and if you increase it to four, another three are added again (artichoke in olive oil and garlic, chef’s salad and shrimps with fennel in filo pastry).
The food was exquisite – deliciously fresh and light, and yet with incredible flavours. The portion sizes were just right, with six dishes between the two of us the perfect amount. It left just enough room for coffee and something sweet. We ordered the baklava and maamoul – and we weren’t disappointed. It was the perfect way to round of a very nice lunch.
Yes, I don’t see why not. There isn’t a dedicated kids menu, but the mezze style of eating makes this family friendly in my opinion. Highchairs are available for toddlers.
OUT & ABOUT
Weybridge, is of course, home to Brooklands Museum, the London Bus Museum and Mercedes Benz World, so transport enthusiasts are well catered for. Weybridge is a lovely town for a mooch about with lots of independent stores.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: If you love Middle Eastern food, you’ll love it. Great for groups, couples, girls gatherings and family get-togethers.
Not for: If you’re not mad on mezze, it’s probably not for you.
The damage: Mezze dishes are from £5-7.50 each, mains are from £13-£21.50, suggested menus are from £19-£25 per person.