It's on the same road as the River Cafe – another Hammersmith dining institution – but this tiny, one-room neighbourhood restaurant couldn’t be more different. The food is Lebanese in origin but the interior is best described as a fabulously kitsch cultural clash.
Mes Amis is a one-man show that survives on the absolute dedication of its mustachioed owner James, chef and designer, and has remained practically unchanged since it first opened for dinner in 1993.
Unassuming from the outside, the interior is a visual cacophony of chinoiserie, chintz and stringed instruments.
Mardi Gras beads drip from overhead lights, the ceiling is festooned with paper umbrellas, tablecloths drape to the floor and candlesticks have the accumulated wax from a generation of romantic dinners à deux.
Every available surface is crammed with porcelain figurines, but the main show is the host himself. James’s kitchen occupies pride of place in the room and consists of a gas burner, a deep fat fryer, two sinks (no dishwasher) and a narrow counter piled high with vegetables. It puts anyone who complains of the constraints of small city kitchens to shame.
He cooks everything from scratch, to order (with very little prep), while diners chat nearby, leaving two charming waitresses to man the floor.
Most diners choose the set mixed meze of sparklingly fresh tabouleh, houmous and roasted aubergine dips with warm pitta.
The large version includes crisp ‘spring rolls’ filled with tangy cheese and mint, lemony fried cauliflower, and ‘samosas’ packed with lamb mince and peas. Griddled whole king prawns come slathered in pungent garlic and parsley.
Mains are more in keeping with the decor. Whatever you order, each main course looks fairly similar, and is garnished to the hilt. Chicken or lamb skewers, Lebanese chicken, or salmon: all are plated on huge plates, atop wheat or rice and bathed in a lemon wine sauce.
The brief drinks list includes several Lebanese wines, including Chateau Musar and Heritage. Tiny wedges of baklava, tea and sweet boiled Lebanese coffee serve as the only desserts.
With only 20 seats, Mes Amis has the intimate feeling of a friend’s living room, albeit one with a predilection for OTT interiors and dinner tables. In a city of modern and modish eateries, this is one dining experience that sticks out.
|Venue name:||Mes Amis||Contact:|
1 Rainville Rd
|Opening hours:||Open 7.30-10.30pm Mon-Sat.|
|Transport:||Tube: Hammersmith tube|
|Price:||Meal for two with wine and service: around £50|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
- 5 star:18
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Cute and quirky restaurant run by one man in what seems to be a spruced up extension of his living room! If thats not impassive, then check out the wonderfully random (and multicultural) decor that makes this lebanese place. The food is amazing and it's such a great alternative experience.
A fantastic restaurant. Both food and atmosphere can't be beaten. Give this one a try and you will become a regular.
food is fantastic and tasty. very warmed and homely place. highly recommended for family party. fantastic place to be.
This is an unique lebanese restaurant that has beautiful decoration and romantic atmosphere. The food is very delicious and freshly cooked in front of you. My favorite is lamb steak which is so tender and tasty. i had brilliant time there. It's one of the best restaurant in London.
The restaurant is so popular and busy that you'd better book in advance, especially weekend.
The decor is bonkers but the food brilliant. From the outside you really wouldn't believe how good this place is. There doesn't really appear to be a proper theme to all the junk that surrounds every available space in the restaurant but it gives you lots to talk about! The menu is pretty simple but food is delicious and all cooked from an open kitchen. The atmosphere is really friendly and nothing appears to be too much trouble for the charming staff/ owners. The sort of place you'd go back to over and over.
Delicious food, great atmosphere and overall brilliant restaurant. I loved the simplicity of the menu and wine list, the quirky objects and interior decoration and fantastic. The food tasted delicious and were good portions. I'll definitely be going back!
Flavour, intimate atmosphere and service. That's why my wife and I frequent Mes Amis. It is also why our visitors from around the world insist on joining us at this delightful restaurant.
Been here five times now abd every time the food is exceptional especially the starters. I also brought my family when they visited and they keep asking to go back! diamond in the rough in Hammersmith
Not only the food is superb and the service spotless, worth well more than the price paid. The atmosphere is unique, candles, little collectibles from all over the world, fire place, and among the highlights, you see the chef cooking in a corner of the dining room. The toilets are yet another surprising touch of class. If you want to impress your partner while enjoying extraordinary Mediterranean food, look no further.