Soho’s lively little Lebanese hub continues its success, judging by the numbers who cram around the tables in the distinctive yellow, black and white interior. At the back is a counter stacked with ready-made wraps to take away.
This cheery café is a world away from staid traditional Lebanese restaurants. There’s none of the formality (or the space), but the standard of food is just as high. On a recent visit, we loved the tangy stickiness of sawda djej (melt-in-the-mouth chicken livers), which, in this version, came in a dark sauce sweet with pomegranate seeds. Falafel made a great contrast: soft, cushiony insides and crisp shells, served with a generous portion of tahina. They went well with the dense, garlicky houmous too. Manakish zaatar was perfect: pitta bread drizzled with olive oil and dusted with lemony zaatar spice, warmed in the oven just enough to let the flavour flood out: simple but delicious.
Yalla Yalla is popular as a lunch spot – and staff can get overwhelmed – but it’s open in the evening too, and serves grills and mains alongside the meze all day. It also has an extensive, largely Lebanese, wine list and cocktails.