Al Hamra

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Mayfair

Londoners whose experience of Lebanese food begins and ends with the occasional shawarma on the Edgware Road may recoil at Al Hamra’s cosmopolitan leanings. The small, square space is characterised by kitsch ruched curtains, an abundance of intrusive pot plants, and white linen tables so tightly packed as to negate conventionally romantic meals. Throw in some smart-suited waiters and the experience can feel a little like dining on a miniature cruise ship. The venue seems as beloved of Mayfair suits as minted Middle Easterners, but there are reassuring touches of authenticity: the miniature pastries popular during Eid and kept behind a glass counter; the heated political discussion in Arabic wafting out of the kitchen; and, of course, the food, although our last visit featured as many hits as misses. Starters were first-rate. Chilli-infused houmous beyruti made a creamy accompaniment to warm, wonderfully airy flatbread, though we were most impressed with kibbeh nayeh, a tartare of seasoned minced raw lamb mixed with bulgur wheat. Mains were less successful. Badenjan mahshi (baked aubergine stuffed with lamb) was under-seasoned and sat in a watery tomato sauce, while shish taouk was overcooked – a sin given Al Hamra’s high prices and ultra-formal service.

Venue name: Al Hamra
Contact:
Address: 31-33 Shepherd Market
London
W1J 7PT
Opening hours: Meals served noon-11.30pm daily.
Transport: Tube: Green Park or Hyde Park Corner tube
Price: Main courses £14-£22.50. Cover £2.50. Minimum £20.

Average User Rating

1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|1
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roana

I'v been to this restaurant twice, each time I hate it even more because the ruddiness and disrespectful attitude of the staff. The Food is good, however, the staff is not. I think I will never go there again.