With seven glossy hotel openings this year, it’s easy to forget about the London’s old faithfuls – the city’s loyal establishments that continue to the fly the Union Jack outside and stand firm in their traditional position. Stashed away in a quiet corner of Marylebone, The Mandeville hotel is proud to be one of these matriarchs of London. Having visited The Mandeville five years ago to sample the delights of a Zandra Rhodes afternoon tea, it made a lasting impression thanks to it’s approachable luxury and cosy aesthetics. (more…)
I like to think that I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to different foods. I’ll try anything (unless it resembles anything like a Bush Tucker trial!) and have been lucky enough to sample different kinds of foods and flavours from lots of countries around the world. Although I’ve sampled a small amount of Middle Eastern cuisine I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d love Lazeez – a Lebanese tapas restaurant nestled in the heart of London.
Sitting on the corner of Duke Street with views of Selfridges (how dangerous!) Lazeez is one of those cool eateries you pass in the city where diners lounge at outside tables, smoking shisha’s and drinking cocktails. But what’s different about it is the food. Unfortunately these photo’s simply don’t do it justice but I hope you can imagine just how delicious they must taste. As sharing food is very much apart of the Lebanese culture, Lazeez captures the social side of eating by offering small tapas dishes – hot and cold – with flatbreads and tasty salads.
We were seated downstairs in the lounge – a darker room that’s lit only by beautiful authentic lamps and candles with the air filled with the delicious smell of incense. As self-confessed Lebanese novice, we allowed our order to be in the hands of Lazeez as they bought us a selection of chicken, lamb, falafel. vegetables and hummus. Now, like most people, I’ve had hummus and falafel before (M&S do a very good option) but I have NEVER tasted them quite like this. The hummus was silky with a prominent taste of chickpeas instead of garlic and the falafel was crumply and fresh with a nutty aftertaste – it was amazing. With authenticity at the forefront of the restaurant’s ethos, all of their ingredients are sourced directly from Lebanon with meat and olive oil being the exception, which is bought more locally. This is important because you can absolutely taste the different herbs and spices infused in the meats and vegetables.
To finish, was had a selection of baklava – a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with honey. Thankfully they were small in size because I was absolutely stuffed from the tapas (be warned, it’s surprisingly filling for small portions!). But teamed with a cup of mint tea, it was the perfect end to a truly beautiful meal.
TOP TIP: If you enjoy red wine, make sure you sample some of Lazeez’s Lebanese wine. Although it tastes a little sharper than a Merlot, you get a mouthful of all of those wonderful fruits and spices making it a perfect pairing with the tapas.