Soon after opening in 2011 the first branch of this Lebanese café in Tooting Bec won the Best Cheap Eats category of the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards and has been mobbed ever since. This second branch is bigger, more spacious and only a little over a mile away from the first.
Demand is still outstripping supply at the tiny original (which only seats around 16 people), but the bigger one nearby is easier to get into. The same standards of welcoming service, low prices (none of the dishes are over £12.50) and freshly prepared Lebanese meze still apply – but without the long queue.
As for recommendations, the cooks are dab hands at grilling meats, but we usually opt for a selection of smaller meze dishes, for more variety and fresh, herby, zingy flavours. We particularly like the crisp-shelled falafels, the mosaka’a bantenjen (a smoky and white aubergine purée), and the fuul medames (lemon-spiked whole fava beans).
And there isn’t much they’re not good at. The flatbreads are bought-in and have the texture of facecloths – but they’re free, and you don’t have to eat them. Oh, and even this one gets busy at weekends. Book ahead, just in case.