Our last meal out of the year and it was nice to go and try this new opening (in the premises of the shortlived Indian, Blue Mango). Lebanese is a favourite “foreign” food for us – both for restaurants and to cook at home – so it’s good to see a second place open up in the centre of Cheadle. It’s competition for the well established Yara (we’ve also been to their restaurants in Alderley and Altrincham).
As we sat down, a freebie bowl of olives was provided for us to nibble on while we looked at the menu. We ordered as we usually do in Middle Eastern restaurants – a number of items from the starters list, followed by a single main course, with everything to share between the two of us. We asked for everything to come together, or as it was ready. In the event, everything came together and came quickly.
There was a well made babaghanoush – a perfect consistency for scooping up with the pitta bread. Not as smoky as the best versions but pleasant enough. There were more olives provided, along with a few chunks of pickled turnip and red cabbage. This was a tad on the sparse side compared with the pickle offerings, at other places. Also from the selection of cold starters was a really nice fattoush – a chopped salad, with just the right amount of crunchy pitta croutons, dressed with lemon juice (more wouldn’t have gone astray) and olive oil. Perhaps the best thing we ate all evening, was the makmour, from the hot starters menu. It’s aubergine, long cooked with tomatoes, onions and peppers till it’s all very soft and almost sauce-like. If there’s one thing the Lebanese know how to cook, it’s aubergine. And this was one of the nicest aubergine dishes we’ve eaten in quite a while. It worked heaped onto the bread and it worked as a sauce for the kebab we’d ordered from the main courses section.
Now, when I say “kebab”, there was actually three of them. One skewer of chicken (perhaps a tad overcooked and not as moist as you’d like it). One skewer of lamb kofta (nice texture but a bit underseasoned). And one lamb shish (absolutely spot-on in my opinion). This came with a little bowl of chilli sauce which was actually disappointingly bland – Middle Eastern chilli sauce is usually quite fiery, in our experience.
So, a decent dinner near home. It was a cheapish night out – they are not licensed but have no problem with you bringing your own alcohol. There’s comfy seats and good service but be aware that, if you need the loo, it’s up a steep flight of stairs. I know the period between Christmas and New Year is a quiet time for any restaurant but it must have been disappointing for them that we were the only customers all the time we were there.
I really wish them every success but the big question is would I walk past Janna to get to Yaya just round the corner. And I’m sorry to say that, yes, I would.