As the sun sets over London during Ramadan adherents make their way to break the fast, at home, with friends or in some of London’s myriad Middle Eastern restaurants. Sure, the Edgeware Road has an incredible array of choice, but if it’s quality you’re looking for then look no further than these posh Middle Eastern joints.
Abd el Wahab is the perfect Arabic restaurant, it’s everything about modern Middle Eastern living that we love, opulent, clean, a meeting of East and West, a surprisingly bad website and reassuringly taxing on the bank account. Which is fine if your net wealth is measured in oil barrels. For the rest of us, this Belgravia restaurant is a treat, and one that comes through. Located on Pont Street, the restaurant take its cue from the original Abd el Wahab in Beirut, with one of London’s best Lebanese menus along with an extensive Lebanese wine list.
Where: 2 Pont Street, Belgravia, SW1X 9EL.
Expect to see a line of Rolls Royces outside Ishbilia at sundown during Ramadan as the Knightsbridge restaurant boasts London’s most extensive Lebanese mezze menu. The family run restaurant, opposite the Kuwaiti embassy, also serves a decent line in arak, anise-flavoured liquor, and, of course, Lebanese wines. Unsurprisingly for the location, luxurious interiors and high standard of service are a given.
Where: 8-9 William Street, Knightsbridge, SW1X 9HL
Le Bab, a modern take on the Middle Eastern restaurant and makers of some of London’s best kebabs, as British as fish and chips. The food may seem like an authentic taste of the Levant, but in fact it was founded in just 2014 by three uber-talenated British chefs from Le Gavroche. The result, some of the most incredible kebab meals available in the capital, speaks for itself. Relative newcomers to the Middle Eastern scene, they’ve already opened three restaurants, their original Soho joint, plus one in Covent Garden and an upcoming opening, Kebab Queen, so posh that they’ll be serving up foie gras kebabs!
Where: Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, Soho, W1B 5PW
Another Lebanese, in the form of Noura. Noura began in Lebanon in the 1970s, before coming to London in the 1990s via success in Paris. The Belgravia restaurant is probably the grandest of their outlets, sitting a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, has a modern feel and is reminiscent of high end Middle Eastern restaurants designed for locals, rather than tourists, so no paintings of camels or decorative hokkah pipes, but with all effort centred on the food.
Where: 16 Hobart Place, Belgravia, SW1W 0HH
Don’t be confused by the Italian-sounding name (not pronounced, as one colleague believed, as puke-ee), this is pan Mediterranean cuisine, which includes Turkish and Lebanese cooking as well as Italian flavours. Formally a King’s Road pizzeria, Pucci has relocated to Mayfair and reset the menu to focus more on Middle Eastern cuisine. The move matches the new neighbours, but also effectively gives us another
Where: 39 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2PP
Just down from Victoria Station, Kazan sets itself up as the home of ‘Ottoman indulgence’, and while you’ve not quite got slaves feeding you peeled grapes, like some Ottoman sultan, Sulyeman the Magnificent would still have been impressed. The food is top-notch, a delight whether you’re tucking into the mezze, or one of the fire grilled or slow cooked meals.
Where: 93-94 Wilton Road, Lillington and Longmoore Gardens, Pimlico, SW1V 1DW
Unusually (we’d venture going as far as ‘very unusually’) fusing Lebanese and Japanese cuisine, the luxury rooftop is stylish and offers diners and guests panoramic views across London’s iconic skyline as it overlooks the Houses of Parliament and the Thames. Signature cocktails are inspired by historical stories and folklore, honouring, for example Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran with a combination of Sumac infused gin, Lillet blanc, fig liqueur, Arrack and Mymoune orange marmalade.
Where: 10-11 Albert Embankment, Lambeth, SE1 7SP