Noura in London (great meal, but mediocre chicken shawarma)
We spent Thursday night in London due a flight scheduling peculiarity, and headed directly to Noura, the Lebanese restaurant about which Howler had raved, when we arrived in town at about 10pm. (It has the advantage of bing a 5 minute walk from our hotel in Mayfair.)
The place was jumping, and we had a wonderful meal. We were too lazy to choose from the encyclopedic list of mezze, so we ordered one of the set menus. Everthing was prepared with care, and had a unique taste -- none of the generic sameness that you find in many middle eastern restaurants. Standouts were the bamia (okra), with a hint of coriander; the juiciest fried stuffed kibbe we have ever had, with the ends molded into sharp and curving points by a real virtuoso; light and herby felafel; baba ganoush; cheese rissoles; and the ground and cubed lamb kebabs. The hommos was merely very good, but the other dishes were so outstanding that it paled in comparison.
We are eager to return to sample more dishes, and even more eager for them to open a branch in NY (they already have places in London and Paris). A link to their menu is below.
HOWEVER, I could not see what the big deal was about the chicken shawarma. Not much flavor other than somewhat dessicated scrapped up chicken pieces. The toom sauce was great -- sort of a lighter riff on skordalia, but we wished that we had stuck to the excellent kebabs. What's the story, Howler?
the chicken shawarma was mediocre?! MEDIOCRE?!
oh well, it does happen sometimes. but did you get the shawarma sandwich? or was it an entree? the sandwich is the only way to eat chicken shawarma in my opinion - shish taouk (grilled chicken cubes) with toom is what to get for an entree. did you also try the ice creams?
hey, i've eaten every mezze at noura (ok, almost every mezze), so give me a heads up the next time you are in town and i'll post my favourites.
now if only london can produce a great turkish restaurant ...
How many times do I have to tell you to get your low cast butt out of your West London ex pat Ghetto and over into East and North London ( or London proper as those of us fortunate to live in the real city like to call it )
There you will find turkish places of the first water in abundance. Angel Mangal, Gallipoli ( and Gallipoli II ) In Stoke Newington you will find The two Istanbul Iskembeksi places.
All of these do superb well prepared grills of meats, fish and excellent salads. Even a malcontent like you would be hard pushed to complain.
So get in that car you spent so much to ship over and get your sorry self to one of those. Hell I might even join you if you quit your bellyaching for one second.
Gurusmek uzere ( I think )
Mea culpa on both counts. We had the chicken shawarma sans sandwich, though we did try to reconstruct our own with the toom and the very good pita bread. Also, by the time we had eaten our way through the mounds of wonderful stuff on the table, we opted for mint tea and skipped dessert.
All the more reason to return.....