Mezza Express - London
Felt compelled to share this little gem (despite me being quite selfish when it comes to food finds). This unassuming little place on Parkway in Camden does an excellent Lebanese buffet. Usually I hate buffets (that mess on a plate where nothing really workds together), but if you work around Camden and want a good lunch then check this place out.
Todays lunch consisted of:
Soft and giving fried aubergine
Crisp and well spiced falafel
Chickpeas with roasted garlic puree
Zingy Cracked wheat and yoghurt
Succulent Baby Okra in tomato
Rice and Lentils mixed with nutty browned onions
Lamb and Artichoke Stew
Deep fried Cauliflower
Green beans in tomato
A decent Houmous
There were quite a few other dishes and salads on offer. Everything was well seasoned and had enough depth of spices to keep the palate enthused despite it looking a bit of a mess (I got take away and squished it all in a box!). The food is not the best Lebanese you'll ever taste but it makes a cracking lunch and all for the jaw dropping price of £3.95. That's a good deal in a city where they are hard to come by. Recommended.
re: Dave MP
Yeah, I'm a newbie poster but I've been following Chow threads for a while and thought I'd join the chatting.
Mezza takeaway is a container to fill, but it's pretty big, especially if like me you fill it with an architectural eye and make sure that there is no air space (yeah I'm a pig). You can eat in for £7.95 and eat as much as you want.
Other lunch places in the area worth checking are:
Caponata - Good, fresh sicilian food but a little overpriced
Ottoman Palace - Really reasonably priced and tasty turkish
Teachi - Bit hit and miss but if you order the more authentic stuff you can eat well
Yum Cha - Decent enough dim sum at good prices
Coast - Ate there once, really good fish (obviously) but pricey
Hache - Pretty good burgers (by London's standards)
Burrito stall on inverness street - For a street stand it's a tasty lunch
Bento Box - Nothing special but an ok lunch option
Bit further away:
El Parador - Pretty good tapas (but the menu reads better than the results). Dunno if they do lunch.
Asakusa - Very rundown (in a charming way) japanese. Good food at good prices.
Oxford - I've always had a great meal at this gastropub in Kentish Town. I don't know why it isn't more recognised.
Bintang - Pretty good malaysian at good prices.
Don't diss El Parador!!! One of my favourite places in London, utterly charming. They do lunch, yes, and it's a credit crunch busting 3 tapas for the price of 2 at the moment. Not sure what you mean about the menu sounding better than it tastes? It's all actually quite basic eg morcilla, sweet potato and feta, broad bean dip...but then just utterly marvellous when it emerges. And how excited was I when the razor clam special made it onto the permanent menu? Pretty darn...Anyway. It ain't Barrafina, it's homely and sweet and old fashioned and all the better for it!
re: helen b
Hehe yeah I know I'm in the minority when it comes to El Parador. I have no problem with the atmosphere, my kind of place for sure. The menu makes me salivate, the flavour combinations are right up my street. When the dishes come out they look great BUT I just feel like the food is a bit tame in flavour and freshness and doesn't deliver what it promises. Also sometimes the dishes are a bit lukewarm (maybe a bit picky with tapas but it makes them feel heavier and more oily). The food is good but not as good as the menu reads. Anyway, clearly people love it so that's why I put it on the list.
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Was going to a gig at the Electric Ballroom on May 19th and the York and Albany told me their pizza oven was down (?!?) so went to Mezza Express and was very disappointed. I had Baba Ghannouj that was nicely smoky, if too oily (like everything), but also had puffy fatayer with slimy spinach inside that tasted like they'd been microwaved (far inferior to those at Arabica at Borough Market), lamb Sambousek with tasteless meat, and greasy Foul Mudammes and a mashed potato dish. It's not that cheap, either, compared to places like the the sterling Ishbilia in Knightsbridge, where I ate a few weeks ago, which offers subtly seasoned food that isn't a greasefest.