Al Waha – Notting Hill W2

My parents usually come to visit me every two years. The first time they came, we did all the most touristy things, so this time I decided to show them my favourite places in London. The area I love the most is Notting Hill: so pretty, so quiet, so classy, so clean, so white (ehm, ehm). It’s funny though, because most of the people I have been talking to say they just go there for the Carnival. I have been to the Notting Hill Carnival once, and I thought it was ok, but I guess is a bit too much for me, too crowded, too many drunk people, too many hot and shirtless honeys… God, I was going crazy with all those abs popping out! 

Anyway, I took my parents to the area, because I really like it and because I wanted to show them where I was living two years ago. Every time, I say to people I was living in Notting Hill their eyes enlightened and I imagine them thinking about Blair Waldorf, I mean we are both brunettes with an expensive taste…

What I was saying? Oh right, so we went there and I was planning to take them to my favourite vegan restaurant, but unfortunately it was fully booked, so we decided to walk around and look for a place with enough options for me. I mean my mum is literally a copycat, I have the feeling that for her just because I live in London everything I do is super cool, so when we are together she has to try all the things I eat, like even hummus is a major thing, because in Italy you can’t easily find it, unless you make it at home. My dad instead is the typical Italian, with strong food traditions that no one can touch and he always feels the need to make stupid jokes about it. But fortunately we found a place that could satisfy everyone.

Al Waha is a Lebanese restaurant located in the middle of Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. You can see that Al Waha it’s not a franchise restaurant (like everything in London), from its outdoor aspect: the full building has a violet pastel colour that clashes completely with its surroundings. The decor inside is a bit cringy too, most probably the restaurant has been open for quite a while and now it would be the right time for a full renovation. But, please don’t be discouraged by the looks, because it would be a shame! The place is pretty small and quiet and the staff is remarkably polite.

After ordering your food, the waiter will bring you a very healthy appetizer: a bowl with some lettuce, a whole unsliced tomato, some carrots and a piece of cucumber with some olives. I guess you can decide either to leave it or starting munching on the veggies like a bunny!

Their food was simply amazing! They have a vegetarian tasting menu, with a little bit of everything you could find on the a la carte menu: falafel, hummus, Babaganush, mixed pickled veggies and fatayer. Most of these dishes are pretty common in our lives, but the quality of the ingredients is to the next level, nothing comparable to what we can find at the supermarket. Since I always like to try what is exotic and unusual to me I decided to order the Moussakaat Batinjan; a small bowl with fried aubergines, chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and spices. It’s a cold starter and it seemed that has been taken out from the freezer just before serving it. The dish itself was delicious, but due to weather conditions (Summer WTF?) and my personal taste, it could have been a little bit warmer.

Fatayer is a hot starter made of puff pastry stuffed with spinach, onions, pomegranate, pine nuts, and walnuts. The taste is delicate and simple really homemade style. Probably something that our grannies could do.

The baclava, at the end of the meal, are on the house. Beware: they are super duper sweet and I don’t suggest you try them unless you have a sweet tooth (really, I just stared at them). It’s really difficult to find some genuine place here in London, so I was quite surprised when I tried Al Waha. I strongly suggest you go and see for yourself. The prices are slightly cheaper than other restaurants so it’s a win-win situation!

Let me know in the comments if you ever tried Al Waha restaurant. I am curious to know your opinion!

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Where The Pancakes Are – London Bridge SE1

Last weekend I had a date. I met this guy, on Tinder… And yes, please get over it! Nowadays, everyone is using dating apps even those who shouldn’t (yeah I am talking to you married guy with two kids and a dog, just looking for fun). But, no one clearly talks about it, unless you are really friends with someone. It’s a bit like when some girls swear that they don’t play with themselves, YEAH RIGHT Becky, we all know you do. 

Anyway, We decided to meet on Saturday in the afternoon to get something to eat. The guy was really nice and handsome, not a catfish (thank Goodness!), and he seemed to be the kind of person with a good job and his shit together, but for some reason the situation it became awkward, I was feeling so nervous and uncomfortable, we were just talking about superficial things to fill up those awkward silent moments! 

We were both glad when the food arrived because finally there was an excuse to be quiet. As soon as we finished the food he rushed away saying he remembered he had something to do and he just evaporated. It was a kind of relief to end the date, but at the same time I was thinking “what went wrong?” I mean everything was normal, he was a really pleasant guy to be with. Have you ever had a date where you felt weird for (apparently) no reason at all? 

The best part of the date? Going in a really cute place for breakfast/brunch… Yes again I know, but it was like 4pm so technically is snack time, right?

Where the pancakes are is a very instagramable little place, with a clean and easy design and touches of peach pastel color, located 10 mins walking from London Bridge. It’s situated inside a small outdoor street food market, the perfect place for a beer during summer, keep it in mind for the next one… 

Since the place is really small, you would probably need to book in advance. The menu isn’t too complicated as you have two sections, sweet & savoury, and there are five to six options for each section and they also have a vegan batter. For vegan folks, it would be even easier since the range of options are literally two, but at least one is a full rich breakfast so if you are planning to go on a Sunday morning, the risk to be starving afterwards is really low. The American classic consists in four-five savoury pancakes topped with maple syrup and fruit and a dash of icing sugar. The pancake batter is sweet and savoury, something that left me and my taste buds happily confused, like you know TMI to process all at the same time… The pancakes were properly cooked, flawless I would say, but to be honest the menu should have more plant based options!

They opened a few months ago, so if you like to be really cool and be on top of Londinium’s trends, you must check this place out!

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