You’d be hard pressed to find a high street that doesn’t have a new Middle Eastern eatery these days (though this will probably be eclipsed by Mexican food soon, if not already). Beyrouths, which first opened in Islington, is becoming a well-respected chain, with venues popping up in Balham, Streatham and if my eavesdropping doesn’t fail me, potentially Wimbledon.
It claims to be “simple Lebanese dishes in a funky, industrial-style space,” which is an accurate description. But whether the “funkiness” of the décor comes across (exposed concrete walls and ceilings, along with uncovered pipes as well as a fluorescent yellow tile floors) is anyone’s guess. The main feeling of the space is in fact exactly that. Space. And lots of it. The Streatham branch in particular offers a very large open plan venue, which can appear empty, especially if you venture during the early week.
However, spotting Middle Eastern clientele is always a good sign, and regardless of its appearance, the menu promises authenticity with a few surprises thrown in. At first glance one can already see that dishes range from Lebanon, to Iran and Palestine, giving you the hope of encountering some treats that may not have tried before.
Interesting delights that we ordered for our tapas/meze (whatever is the cool word for nibbles these days) style dinner include batata harra, yummy sautéed potatoes with garlic, coriander, sweet pepper and chilli, a sort of Lebanese version of patatas bravas, as well tasty okra stew originating in Persia, along with old favourites such as kibbeh meatballs and spinach and feta cheese filos (sambousak).
The huge open grill invites you to have your taste of skewed meats (lamb or chicken) or halloumi as the vegetarian option, with all main dishes also accompanied by the stable salad, vermicelli rice and garlic yoghurt combo. The marinated chicken in the shish taouk was particularly juicy and delicious.
But oddly enough, what I most enjoyed the visit, isn’t what is usually greatly associated with a Middle Eastern eatery: great drinks and dessert. By dessert I mean their baklawa, which was on par if not better than ones I have had in Istanbul. Delicate, nutty, sweet and crispy without being drenched in syrup. Just perfect. And finally the pièce de résistance had to be their selection of homemade lemonade-esque smoothies. Their minty green lemonade was the definite highlight, together with the pink version made with pomegranate: the jewel of the Middle East.
Lunchtime wraps and snack versions of the above area also available till 6pm. Grab one….even if it’s just for the lemonade.
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Streatham High Road