Middle Eastern cuisine is a winner with everyone – a diverse variety of choices with inoffensive flavours whether you’re a meat lover, a vegetarian or a vegan. A few weeks ago, I visited Leila’s for lunch, which offers Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine with a homely vibe.
Leila’s is situated close to Ealing Common, nestled in a leafy neighbourhood, away from the hustle and bustle of Ealing Broadway. It boasts a casual ambience with Moroccan paraphernalia adorning the walls and gorgeous lanterns hanging off the ceilings, and when night falls, I can imagine the atmosphere goes up several notches.
Seated at the best spot in the house (a cosy booth which gave us the best view of the restaurant), we were immediately feeling peckish from scanning the menu. For starters we ordered Spicy Hummus (£4.50), Batata Darna (potato cubes sautéed with coriander and garlic, topped with fried vegetables – £3.95), Moutabal or as it’s also known as, Baba Ghanouj (baked aubergine with sesame oil and lemon juice – £4.75) and Sojok (Armenian spicy beef sausages cooked with tomato and parsley – £4.25) with an endless supply of bread.
Straight up Batata Darna was the clear winner: popping with flavour with a sensational taste of za’atar herbs and the potatoes were perfectly cooked. I can still remember the taste as I write this.
Hummus is always a good choice and Leila’s efforts did not disappoint – smooth and deliciously peppered with spices for a kick. Moutabal (or Baba Ghanouj) had a divine smoky taste to it though to do this day, nothing has come close to the offering by Behesht in London’s Kensal Green, which remains my all-time favourite. The Sojok was interesting – whenever I’ve had this, it’s always been served in grilled form but Leila’s twist on it is different – it comes in a rich and chunky sauce.
For our mains, we chose the Mix Grill (lamb and chicken marinated in vinegar, spices and onions) and the Kafte Lahem (minced lamb, onions and parsley grilled on skewers), both served with flat bread and vermicelli rice and priced at £12.95 each. Portion sizes at Leila’s are generous, as they usually are with Middle Eastern restaurants so it’s fair to say we struggled to finish our main courses. As far as taste goes, both dishes were pleasant, though not particularly extraordinary. I have a feeling the tagine would have been a more exciting choice.
I can’t fault Leila’s for its location, atmosphere, portion sizes and amazingly friendly service. It’s a place I would love to bring family and friends to and what’s more, it’s very reasonably priced. I think next time I would either go to town on ordering just hot and cold mezzes or straight to the mains, ideally a tagine.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit https://www.leila-ealing.co.uk.
*My visit to Leila’s was complimentary for review purposes but my words and opinion are entirely my own.