I asked the kid at the hotel desk if the Greek place on the corner was good. He said no! don't go there! doooonnnttt gooo theeerre! go a few doors down and that one is great. So we went where he said. It was crowded, we didn't have reservations, but they edged us in with other diners. We got the Greek combination dinner to share, and oh my what a tasty meal that was. It was eat-in-reverent-silence-with-occasional- moaning good. It was all good. Real Good. The people beside us said they loved what they ordered, but next time would get what we had. They also said the other place had "flies hanging about the meats". It was the best baba ghannouj I have ever had. (eons ago a grad school classmate got some Julia Child award for a Lebanese cookbook and tested her recipies on her starving classmates, so I've had some good baba ghannouj!)
The next day, we walked past Halepi a couple of times and it was doing a lively business pretty much all day. The other place was empty or nearly so.
Our last day for lunch, we had a "how to make London famous for bad food" lesson at the Museum Tavern across from the British Museum, (and later, looking at the receipt, they charged us for an additional item we didn't have). At supper we stopped into the Black Swan (due to fond memories a relative has of many years ago there) and quickly realized it had some relationship with the Museum Tavern, same menu, same "ye olde" signage, and left quickly. I mean, nearly tripping over each other on the way out. We went straight to the nearby Halepi. Of course, we didn't have reservations. The waitress said we could eat as long as we didn't stay past an hour. The friendly and efficient host/owner came by and said we should take our time, not to worry, and showed us a photo of himself with Don King. He put us back in the same spot, and we got the mezze platter and the Moussaka. Again, it was very very delicious and reasonably priced (for London). Again, the place was quickly packed. Being schoolteachers accustomed to 20 minute lunch breaks, we were out by the hour. Good good casual tasty place, and a fine way to end our trip. I do love that city.
18 Leinster Terrace W2 3 ET
are you still here, betty? or have you left?
if you liked halepi, i have a real treat for you - cheaper, even tastier medditeranean cusine in london. i'm torkin' lebanese. not horribly far away from you were (are) is edgware road. try maroush next time.
actually the nicest one is the one on beauchamp place. they've gotten better over the last year and i'm enjoying eating there again. on the other hand, my local al dar has sadly started to decline. but they still have the best foul muqqala around, even though their chicken is become ever so drier.