Restaurants, Cafés Covent Garden
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(15user reviews)

A new all-day Mediterranean restaurant from one of the co-founders of Ottolenghi.

Please note, Sesame is now closed. Time Out Food & Drink editors, Feb 2016.

This sleekly chic Middle Eastern café and takeaway in Covent Garden looks like it’s squaring up against bigger chains such as Leon, which do a similar thing – healthy-ish fast food, some of it grilled, inspired by the fast-food joints of Tel Aviv. If you’re looking for a falafel, however, you’ll be disappointed: they’re conspicuous by their absence. 

Instead you’ll find pitta breads filled with herby salads, given added skewers of grilled meats such as spicy paprika and cardamom chicken, or minced lamb skewers. We were particularly worshipful of sabick, an Israeli filled sandwich of aubergines, boiled egg and tahini with a hint of mango pickle. The pitta breads are pleasingly soft and doughy, though they’d be much better if toasted, or even warmed.

If filled breads aren’t your thing – if you’re having a ‘gluten-free lifestyle’ day, for example – then there are also shelves of colourful salads inspired by the eastern Mediterranean, such as the beetroot with orange, honey and labneh. There is more seating in the small basement, but this still isn’t a place to linger; think of it as good for fun fast food near Leicester Square.

By: Guy Dimond


Venue name: Sesame
Address: 23 Garrick Street
Opening hours: Open Mon-Sun 7am-11pm.
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Meal for two with drinks: around £18.
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Exceptionally good food.. Must try their Lamb skewers.. Pita breads are as soft as u expect.. Good food with value for money..


After reading the reviews I was intrigued and decided to give it a go. I'm always walking around Covent Garden so it was a welcome surprise to find something new. It was empty when I walked it which made me curious and kind of wish for Five Guys across the road with all it's noise and business but I continued. The staff were friendly and very helpful, although they seemed to have other things on their mind. The decor is bright but inviting, warm and settling. The open doors don't make it cold but welcoming and you can people watch to your heart's content. 

The salad, pitta and hummus was fresh and the colours and flavours were amazing. The chicken and paprika was seasoned very well and sitting, eating my pitta-I forgot I was in an empty restaurant, listening to James Blake. There wasn't much on the menu but I'm sure it's only because they want to focus on simple ingredients with great flavours and that is something they have easily achieved. As I walk through Covent Garden and yearn for an unhealthy snack, I will be grateful that across the road from the unhealthiest option there will be my saving grace.


The food here is flavourful and fresh and a nice change from the standard Pret sandwich when you're in a hurry. I really liked the decor which was a lot of Mediterranean tiling, but don't expect a nice relaxed sit down experience. There are a few tables on the ground floor but it seems like many people just get takeaway.

I had the roast aubergine and egg pitta which was very nice but the mango pickle on it was not my favourite. I really wanted to try the roasted cauliflower with tahini but they had run out when I arrived. The staff were kind enough to come over to my table later on and let me know that they had made some more if I would still like to buy some. The cauliflower dish was worth the wait - will definitely get it again next time.

Lemon and Za’atar Chicken in the pita & Butternut Squash salad box are TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I went here with high expectations. There aren't too many options and what you get is overpriced for what it is.


The food and service here is truly amazing. A tell-tale sign of how good this place is - it's always packed no matter what time of day. The fresh, authentic flavours are mouth watering and really great prices for the amount of meat I think. The za'atar chicken and kofte are my favourite dishes so far to date, and I will definitely be going back for more soon. The decor is quite vibrant, matching the exciting feel you get in when you walk inside and are greeted by smiling faces from the staff and warm inviting smells of Middle Eastern spices and flavours.


After all the rave reviews I've seen going around I did have high expectations of this place and was really looking forward to trying it with my houmous loving friend! We visited after a few cocktails at a local bar and it was empty! To be honest I thought it was going to have a slightly different vibe but it was like a Leon just before closing.

Not many salads to choose from left! 
I went for the lamb pitta and my friend got a chicken skewer and houmous. Both were good (pitta nice and fluffy, meat good but not enough sauce) but nothing special! I suppose at £7ish you can't complain and it is clearly geared towards more a lunch time thing. A bit of a let down and I won't be rushing to return however if in the area and didn't want a sit down lunch I may return!

Love this place....the lamb pitta is delish and the service always super friendly. Only downside is that it can get a bit pricey when you start including salads / sides / chips. I find myself  thinking I could've of gone to a good turkish restaurant instead : /

First visit for me - the chicken skewers are to die do for , highly recommend a lunch visit it rocks 

I was excited by this place. I went early on. I queued. I even managed to deal with the bone-shaking pneumatic drill pounding the road outside. It wasn't great. The lamb kebab a bit of a mess - the pillowy pitta (nice) housed lukewarm, dull meat (definitely not straight off the grill), too much tahini, too little yoghurt, barely-there salad and very reluctant zhoug. It was early days, though, and the Time Out review sounds like they've now got things ship-shape. Salads were fine.

Staff Comp

Massive fan of this place for a quick and decently priced work lunch. I ordered the lamb skewer which was cooked to perfection, with a side of Tahini & Pomegranate Cauliflower. Also - try their homemade Pitta chips with the pesto hummus - on a par with Hummus Bro's up the road.. 

This place is definitely giving places like Leon a run for their money, and it's nice to see a fast affordable lunch spot with a difference, unlike the Pret's and Eat's of London.