Tooting Bec tube station; minicab office; launderette; kebab shop. Hang on, though, this kebab shop is crammed with tables and chairs, and some very pleased-with-themselves diners clinking glasses. A tiny Lebanese licensed restaurant, Meza has a kitchen smaller than a Beirut takeaway stall, but manages to turn out a sizeable menu of meze and grilled dishes freshly made to order. Sitting at the bar counter, as we did, you can see why the expression ‘open kitchen’ was coined – no sprig of flat-leaf parsley can be out of place when you’re under this sort of scrutiny. Fortunately, the chefs never put a fuul wrong, from the perfectly crisp-shelled falafels to the aubergine dips seared with the whiff of the charcoal grill. Highlights? Everything. Even the Lebanese wine was enjoyable, and priced keenly at around £15 a bottle. The manager was subdued on our most recent visit, but in the past we’ve seen him greet every customer like a new best friend, and service is consistently friendly and casual. The only catch with Meza is its popularity; you need to book weeks in advance on a mobile phone number to get a good slot, and table-turning is now the norm.
There is a second branch of Meza just a little more than a mile away. For details and a review, click here.