Venturing out on a Saturday evening for dinner can sometimes be hard when you haven’t booked anywhere and haven’t got the faintest idea of what you fancy eating as a group of friends. Deciding to meet in Maida Vale to walk along Little Venice, an area none of us had been out too a lot before, we came across a lovely looking restaurant with a nice ambience just off the river in Sheldon Square.
Starving we sat down at Massis Lebanese, a grill and bar. With it being a nice Summer’s day it had enough tables outside so this is where we asked the waiter to sit. The smell of shisha from other customers brought a nice aroma to the air surrounding us, with a DJ positioned outside just by the doors.
The cocktail menu that we looked at first, delivered a warming mixture of fruit and alcohol, sounding delicious and I was hoping they tasted as good. I was stuck between the pomegranate martini with fresh pomegranate and shaken with grenadine, vodka, lime and Chambord, the pine & passion which mixed fresh pineapple and passion fruit with Havana 3 and coconut and lime or the apple and cinnamon bellini. I chose the martini, the flavours blended together perfectly and it wasn’t too overbearingly sweet and went down a treat with my food!
For the food we decided to pick a dish each and share a starter. One of my friends went for the Hummus Shawarma with lamb which came first and I had a taste of. The hummus was nothing to write home about, but the Lamb Shawarma tasted fresh and the edges were perfectly crispy with the middle being soft and tender, how it should be!
My other friend and I chose a starter to share and a main each. We went for one of my favourite Lebanese starters; the Sujuk which are spicy Armenian lamb sausages pan fried with cherry tomatoes and once we squeezed some lemon on it were good to go. Fried nicely, the sausages have a strong flavour, where you can taste the spices and spiciness of them.
My friend chose for her main a stew she normally has home-cooked called Bamia. This is a traditional stew with okra in tomato sauce with lamb and vermicelli rice. I guess you can’t ever get it cooked better than a good home-cooked one and but she did say it was nice!
I opted for a safe option of a Kafta which is skewers of charcoal grilled ground lamb finely spiced. I ordered a side of vermicelli rice to go with it, although the waiter kept bringing bread and I had 3 skewers when it came so it was a large portion. I was disappointed that the salad it came with was literally just red cabbage, they could have made an effort to put lettuce some onions and tomatoes in it. The Kafta was cooked perfectly and was the meat was juicy and spiced enough.
They gave us lovely pastries afterwards as a complement and to be honest these were the nicest Lebanese sweets I have had ever. I’m not big into desserts but I couldn’t stop eating these!
Where To Find:
Paddington Central, 9 Sheldon Square, London W2 6HY 020 7286 8000 www.massis.co.uk