We realize that we have an incredible backlog of half-written posts that we need to publish quickly. In fact, this one has been sitting around for more than a year. . . .it’s from when we spent our summer in London . . . . in 2012!!! We were reminded of this post when two of our friends, Mr. Mike and Ms. Karin told us they were going to London and were looking for recommendations.
Our apologies for the abnormally large number of typos etc (and special thanks to Ms. Karin and Mr. Mike for reminding us to get to work!). . . so without further ado, here it is!
Yalla Yalla is known for “Beirut Street Food.” Chef Jad Youssef trained in Beirut, his home town, and later came to London. While he now has several restaurants, we prefer his first store – located in Soho- at 1 Green’s court London.
Green’s Court is a side street, near Brewer street. Hard to find, but worth it. The closest metro stops are Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road. (P.S Kaushik Pufaji told us that the “h” is never ever pronounced in British words).
Our first impression of Yalla Yalla was this:
A yellow sign (Fits Hey?). The sign says this:
Below the signs are all the awards that Yalla Yalla won.
When we went inside, our server, Carolyn, escorted us to our table.Here is a picture of the server with us, the sophisti-kids.
We immediately received a menu, or more than one menu actually( there were several of us in the mood for Lebanese food-especially Beirut street food- and there we found a wide variety of delicious Lebanese dishes. Some of us(namely SUJATA BHUYA-well you know THAT story-see our previous london posts) were surprised to see that about HALF of the menu was labeled with a (V)-for vegetarian. Sujata Bhuya was overjoyed (Sujata is our vegetarian aunt who is “flexible” enough to eat bacon, chorizo, eggs and shrimp!). She says that a long time ago, it was very hard to get a variety of vegetarian dishes. But now, there are many different new creative types of dishes(see Ze kitchen Gallerie). Here are some pictures of the menu:
Then we recieved pickled radishes, pickles, and olives. Anya hates olives and pickles, so only had the radishes. Karsen doesn’t like radishes, so only had the pickles and olives. See what perfect opposites we are???
Right away, we saw their stand of delicious fresh “ades” including: elderflower(rated number 2 of the three), cherry and rose water(we rated that No.1), Apple, Mint, and Ginger(No.3 tasted kind of indian so naturally was Bhuya and Pufaji’s favorite).
The yellow drink was elderflower; the green one was the apple, mint, and ginger; and the pink one was the cherry and rosewater.
Happily sipping our lemonades, the server came and got our food order(rather large amounts of food of course-nobody can resist street food-as that is always the best thing to get when you are in foreign countries). Soon afterwards, the pita bread arrived. You might ask, what’s that? Well, of course, as the sophisti-kids we are happy to answer your questions. Pita Bread is a circle shaped “pocket” bread commonly used in Lebanese-Mediterranean cuisine. Here is a picture of the delicious pita bread which we used to scoop other Lebanese delicacies such as Baba Ghannouj, falafels, and hummus-oops-did I give too much away? Don’t tell anyone, ok? My mom is going to get mad at me for giving to much away. 😉
Then, the Baba Ghannouj arrived. Baba Ghannouj is a typical Mediterranean eggplant dish. Unlike other baba ghannoujes we’ve had, this one was topped with pomegranate seeds; pomegranate seeds bring out a slight burst of fruitiness into the baba ghannouj. Here is a picture of the Baba Ghannouj:
Next came the falafels. These were not as good as those we had in Paris(we were staying in the Marais-Jewish District). I’m sure those of you who came to Paris with us last time, distinctly remember those falafels. Still, very good falafels, though.
And that my friends, is a FALAFEL.
Subsequently, the tabboule came. For those of you who do not know tabboule is an Ancient lebanese salad topped with tomatoes, lemon juice, fresh herbs, onions, and other ingredients. The difference between tabboule and regular salad is that they also grains called bulgur. They also use parsley instead of the regular, much larger mixed greens.
(Sorry for the slightly blurry picture)
Soon afterwards, the batata harra arrived. Batata Harra is a crispy potato dish with delicious sauces swarming on top. Though simple, this dish was one of our favorites. Batata harra is even better than french fries, and less common. This came with the most delicious red spicy sauce called muhammara. Mommy says everything tastes better with that sauce. This was one of our favorite dishes – and it was soooo good that we ate the whole thing and forgot to take a picture of it. You’ll just have to trust us – it was perfectly fried, crispy and not greasy, and the accompanying sauce was amazing!
Following that mouth watering dish, came the makale samak. Makale samak are tiger prawns topped with aubergine, onions, and some lemon. This dish, although very good, were not as tasty as the batata harra.
We also enjoyed some mixed grills-for Kaushik Pufaji as he like to eat things that he does not get in India(Naturally-we are all like that). The mixed grill consisted of chicken skewer, lamb, tomatoes, sumac, parsley, and red pepper salad.
At nearly the same time, the sawda djej came. For those of you who are oblivious to what this is, sawda djej is chicken liver with garlic and pomegranate. Quite Good, actually. SURPRISINGLY. Normally, we are not big chicken eaters, but this chicken was GOOD.
Overall, we thought this place was so good, we went several times including twice with our Indian grandparents, Dada and Dadi. Not surprisingly, they too loved the apple, mint, and ginger lemonade best. Every time we go to Yalla Yalla, we go to the famous ice cream Gelupo afterwards, as it is very close by.
We rate Yalla Yalla
(drum roll please)
5 smiley faces
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
We highly recommend everyone who goes to London, to visit Yalla Yalla.
Cheap but good.
In other words Value for Money.
In Hindi, Mooli is a type of large radish. But Mooli’s is a delightful and cheap restaurant with the most friendly people on 50 Frith Street, Soho, London. In fact, Dadi makes delicious Mooli parathas-parathas are a type of stuffed indian bread. Here is a picture of it:
The executive chef is named Chef Raju. One day, he quit his job from the restaurant he previously worked at (Benares – a michelin-starred Indian restaurant in London), and started this new, popular, indian restaurant. Every once in a while, Chef Raju, cooks Indian food for his children. When he gets the time of course.
The menu-only one page long but rather large, still gives you enough variety, but at the same time gives you time to read and absorb every single word of food. That’s one good menu.
Then, the chef came out to greet us. Dada was so thrilled that he managed to work up an appetite by talking profusely with our chef. Here are couple of snaps (that’s the way londoners say picture or photograph) of the chef (the first one is with us, and the second one is with Dada).
We also managed to get a picture with him and Dada:
We also took a picture of this happy but cosy and comfortable background.
In addition, we also took a picture of the waiter. As always, we have no idea how they carry all that food at once. They must had have to train a lot and be really really good to get the job.
Chef Raju makes fresh lassi-traditional indian yogurt drink- every day. Mixing flavours that you wouldn’t even dream to find in normal Indian restaurants-flavors like mango and ginger, coconut and lime..and most popular…chili. Chef Raju also serves fresh lemonade. Anya, Dadi, and Mommy, got the freshly squeezed lemonade(always better fresh). Mommy also got the chili-she read that it was the best and tasted surprisingly good. Papa and karsen got the mango ginger, and Dada had the coconut lime. We got a few extras. Only a few. Mind you they weren’t that large. ;). Here are a few snaps of our drinks and us enjoying our drinks!
Pappadam, a crispy indian bread, was fist to arrive at our table. This is one of our favorite munchies.
The next thing that came was chaat. Chaat is different types of crunchy Indian snacks served with tamarind(imli) chutney and cilantro(green) chutney. One of our favourite Indian dishes, chaat is a delicacy that when asked one must always accept. In this case, the chaat is also served with reita, a type of savory Indian yogurt. The snack is aloo(potato) bhujia which is in this case served with pomegranate seeds, which is pretty rare for Indian dishes. Pomegranates seem to be popular in London.
Chef Raju puts Indian spices and foods into rolls. These rolls include: goat, pork, chicken, lamb, beef, chickpea, and paneer-paneer being an Indian cheese. We ordered everything except the chicken(I think you know why). Since mommy didn’t like the lamb, Karsen and I got to have it. But after the lamb, our mouths were burning so much that we had already finished three glasses of lassi and afterwards only ate chaat. Nevertheless, our Bhuya and Pufaji certainly missed out on this delightful occasion. Our Indian grandparents certainly enjoyed it. Mommy, being a spicy food eater(SFE)-that’s what we call her, mostly ate rolls. Which, if you ask me balanced it out perfectly until the other grownups came in. Here are some picture of the rolls:
Dada and Dadi also wished to have dal. Dal is a sauce made with lentils and spices. They also have wished to have thirka, or spicy onion to put on top of dal, so Chef Raju made it especially for them.
To top it off, we had kulfi on a stick. Kulfi is an Indian ice cream. Cashew(Malai)kulfi all round. We got street kulfi. The best kind besides Dadi’a and Mommy’s homemade kulfi.
And some picture of everyone enjoying the kulfi:
That’s right everybody loved it. We highly recommend that everone try kulfi at least once in their lives. And make it worth the while.
Overall, Mooli’s was an excellent experience for us all to have, and would like to thank Chef Raju for such a nice experience. We would especially like to thank him because he stayed at his restaurant to talk to Dada and Dadi. Very nice of him. Thank you Chef Raju!!!!
We rate Mooli’s Indian Cuisine
(drum roll please)
5 smiley faces
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
P.S. It might seem like we give every place 5 smiley faces – but that’s simply because we like writing about our favorite experiences. These are the ones we share with you. For example, there is a place across the street from Mooli’s called Ceviche – we haven’t written about it because it was just disappointing! Really – why would go to Ceviche and have mediocre peruvian food at astronomical prices (not VFM) when Mooli’s is across the street!!!! Mooli’s and Yalla Yalla are two of our very favorite places to eat in London! Special thanks to Chef Raju!