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!