We’ll walk down Koshari Street any time: mega-filling, mega-tasty, mega-cheap. It’s the closest thing in the West End to a free lunch.
London may have swooned for Ottolenghi and Yalla Yalla, but this homage to Egypt’s hole-in-the-wall koshari vendors, from food writer and champion of Levantine cooking Anissa Helou, is still a brave move. The small, pristine space with a stainless steel counter is slightly reminiscent of a school canteen: there are a handful seats along one wall. This is really a takeaway joint, with a menu only a shade more varied than it would be at a stall in Cairo or Alexandria.
Warming, comforting and many-layered, koshari is falafel’s more substantial older brother – a solid, simple dish of lentils, pasta, vermicelli and rice topped with tomato sauce and fried onions. That’s it. Helou’s version comes in mild, hot and ‘mad’ (it’s not really), plus a twist of her own doqqa recipe – ground spices, nuts and herbs.
Then there are a couple of plain salads, a daily soup (we had sharp, lemony lentil and chard with real depth of flavour), freshly pressed juices and traditional desserts – muhallabiyeh milk pudding and mishmishiya apricot purée, the former creamy and laced with rosewater like a grown-up version of a Wall’s Mini Milk, the latter an intense shot of fruit like a blast of summer sunshine.
Service in the early days of opening was haphazard, but charming. Let them iron out the wrinkles, and London may swoon again for this simplest of Middle Eastern menus.
|Venue name:||Koshari Street||Contact:|
56 St Martin's Lane
|Opening hours:||11.30am-11pm Mon-Sat; 11.30am-4pm Sun.|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square|
|Price:||Meal for two with soft drinks: around £14.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
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Love, love, love Koshari! It's my fallback for a rainy day when all you want is carbs and somewhere I eat often before the theatre. It's cheap, healthy and always delicious. A great place to come with vegetarian/vegan friends, I hope Koshari has a long lifetime on St Martin's Lane.
I have been here a few times now. The food is nice and simple and honest. It comes with three different types of sauces Mad, Hot and Mild. They also come in three different tub sizes. Lots of carbs, It is all topped with Fried onions which gives the food the special taste. During lunch time you can find a bit of queue, although on more than one occasion, there was just one person serving and a huge queue waiting outside in the rain. I would like to think it is a one of thing, but the food is nice and cheap. (between £6 to £7) for the largest tub size. The eat-in space is a bit too crambed, so may not suit a large crowd.