As good as ever – this Middle Eastern café continues to satisfy with outstanding food and tip-top service. Long tables dominate the airy dining space, and there are seats where you can eat alfresco while puffing on a hookah pipe. The atmosphere suits the menu: a casual mix of mezze, mains and wraps.
Everything I tried was marvellous but there were a few must-order items. Get the labne bil thum: a lush dip of strained yogurt flavoured with garlic and topped with colourful greens in a pool of golden olive oil. Swirled on to pitta bread, spread on pastry parcels or smothered on sausages, this velvety mixture complimented just about every other dish on the table. Another favourite was the soujoc, spicy cocktail-sized bullets of lamb bathed in a punchy tomato sauce. Also terrific was a refreshing bowl of mohalabiya, a milk pudding from Damascus with pomegranate seeds and syrup. Something about this dessert was reminiscent of the best sort of childhood comfort pudding: delicate and nourishing without being remotely cloying.
Service was as faultless as the food. Funny and perceptibly kind, my waitress knew all about each dish, gave excellent recommendations and brought the plates out at a good pace. Cosy vibes plus terrific food is a winning formula. No wonder Yalla Yalla has remained at the top of its game since opening in 2010.