With its narrow upstairs room hung with Levantine memorabilia, its rickety staircases and cave-like basement dining room, Loubnane (classical Arabic for 'Lebanon') has an absolute lack of pretension that fits charmingly with its huge plates of traditional food. Service is delightfully friendly, and the menu full of photos of the team, stories and facts about Lebanon. More to the point, it lists all the big hitting Lebanese classic dishes, plus a selection of excellent wines from the Bekaa valley. Despite its understated exterior, when we visited late on a Sunday lunchtime it was doing a roaring trade – customers clearly keep coming back.
We started with a hefty bowl of hummus charged with pine nuts and warm ground meat, all mopped up with plenty of pita bread, and a gorgeous dish of chicken livers cooked with a piquant pomegranate syrup. There's a selection of grills and kebabs at mains as well as more complex slow cooked dishes, so we tried both. The succulent, spicy chicken kebab meat came wrapped in a pita and flanked by huge mounds of salad and burghul. 'Lebanon's national dish' (according to our waiter), kibbeh saniyeh, is a sort of tart made by pressed ground meat, pine nuts and spices between two layers of burghul, served with salad and cooling yoghurt – hefty, flavourful comfort food. These are top notch versions of authentic Lebanese dishes, a brilliant way to sample the region's food in a familial atmosphere. Also popular for private parties.
29 rue Galande
|Opening hours:||Tue 7pm-10.30pm; Wed-Sun 12noon-2pm, 7pm-10.30pm|
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