Stuff I Like - eats

Lebanese café Comptoir Libanais has catapulted itself into my unofficial list of favourite lunch spots. It takes Leon’s fast, healthy, design-conscious ethos and gives it a Middle Eastern twist - and without a sheesha pipe in sight.

The menu of of wraps, mezze (make sure you try the prawn falafel), salads and dips, flavoured breads and more substantial tagines is varied enough to cure even the worst dose of Pret-A-Manger-fatigue.

I of course found room for a mint tea and some orange macaroons, and I’ll defo be back to sample the frozen yoghurt menu. There’s no alcohol on sale, but the coffee and intriguing range of soft drinks - including a lip-smackingly sweet Strawberry Fanta – is worth a visit in itself.
65 Wigmore Street, London W1;

Keeping with the Middle east theme Yalla Yalla in soho is a genius little restaraunt with
smashing grub. The menu at Yalla Yalla (“Go! Go!” in Arabic – a reference to the saucy go-going neighbours, maybe?) is all classic Lebanese meze and wraps, but there’s real love and attention lavished on the simplest of dishes. A plate of battered prawns, squid and whitebait came served on exemplary thin aubergine slices of perfect crispness, while hummus tasted properly fresh and lemony (no citric acid here).
Best of all was Kibbe Nayyeh, raw lamb patties with bulgur wheat and ­cumin – the meat meltingly gorgeous and given a nice hefty, grainy feel by the wheat. A main of sea bass fillet sang of crisped skin and moist flaky flesh. ­Desserts push the envelope, too – a milk pudding given a lift with drizzled rose syrup and pomegranate seeds, if the food’s honest and straightforward, so is the decor. Whitewashed walls, strip benches with cushions jostling together, little wooden tables packed close, given a splash of dash with yellow lamps and stools and bright street-scene ­canvasses. The unfussy ­service is a pleasure – our cheerful, Polish waitress ­doling out friendly winks with each dish.

Sandwiched hopefully ­between sex shops and open stairwells advertising “busty models first floor”, hard-to-find Yalla Yalla is no obvious winner – but that makes me like it even more.
Yalla Yalla, 1 Green’s Court W1, 020 7287 7663, Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Meal for two: £45