Feeling a little light-headed after too much sun (OK, wine), and in need of something a little different to seek out, two of us headed to Cedar, the immediately popular new Lebanese restaurant on West End Lane.
First impressions were promising; the interior seemed bright and airy, and very relaxed, so much so that one customer decided to enjoy a couple of cigarettes actually inside the premises! He was right by the open frontage though, and not really doing any harm – it was early evening and unusually quiet.
Fatayer – a baked pastry stuffed with spinach, onion and herbs proved a decent start, and then kibbeh yakteen was also a hit; deep fried pumpkin and crushed wheat shells housing a pleasing combination of spinach and chickpeas. Spicing was well-judged, with that satisfying ‘warm’ taste and aroma I associate with this sort of food.
Hummus, pita and falafel were fresh and pretty much as one would expect, and cheese rikakat, deep fried haloumi in filo pastry, added something else to proceedings. Shank leesh, (aged cheese with tomatoes, onion, green pepper and thyme), had its own character with stronger flavours – probably my favourite plate. That said, I absolutely loved the little intro of pickles which arrived soon after we sat down; I learned these included turnip slices pickled with beetroot juice – quite delicious.
With each dish tried being around £5 or under, and plenty of variety on the menu, Cedar is a welcome addition to the local scene. And I’m going to have to return soon, as browsing the menu online, I’ve now learned they even do pizzas – “both Italian and Lebanese in flavour”…
…Lebanese-style pizza? Seriously, what’s not to like!?