Beirut Express



Beirut Express is for the nights that you don’t feel like cooking but also don’t want a full on ‘restaurant ‘ experience, or for the times you go for drinks after work on an empty stomach and are left famished at 10pm.

So you head to Edgware Road, London’s Middle Eastern Mecca. You leave the streets of the city behind and are momentarily transported to any Middle Eastern city of your choice. The sights, sounds and smells all match, until you see the number 16 bus nearly running over a man on a Boris bike! The choice is vast on Edgware Road, and from the outside, the restaurants can look fairly similar. Fear not, I have taken it upon myself to get to the bottom of which restaurant comes top.

The Maroush group is a big player when it comes to Lebanese food, with a range of different restaurants across West London. When I visit a Maroush, I leave a happy lady, whether it is their flagship restaurant on High Street Kensington, Maroush Gardens – their more upmarket Edgware Road offering or my favourite, Beirut Express, the least formal of all their restaurants. There are no airs and graces here, nothing fancy at all, indeed it is more cafe style.  What you are guaranteed is freshly cooked, delicious Lebanese food and a true authentic experience.

My menu choices have turned into something of a ritual, I can’t go there without ordering certain dishes. It starts with multiple mezze to share, followed by a meaty wrap and then possibly a mint tea. Mezze madness includes a range of favourites.  Herby and super lemony fattoush salad,  falafels cooked to perfection – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside – which can be dipped in the garlic sauce taking them to new levels, halloumi, again cooked perfectly, to just the right degree of melt in mouth and finally dips! Houmous goes without saying and who can resist the smokey aubergines of the babaganoush.  All of these are of course served with traditional Middle Eastern flat bread.

If I am being honest, after this array of delights, I normally feel quite full, but before I can let anyone know,  my shish taouk wrap arrives right on time. There is a range of meaty, Lebanese kebab-style wraps or there is the option to have as a plated main course without the actual wrap. I prefer to order the wrap;  it amalgamates all the flavours, succulent chicken, garlic sauce, pickled turnips, fresh crispy salad all drenched in lemon.

This is the place for an authentic Lebanese feast, that will leave you feeling happy, content and pretty full. When you are thinking of a Lebanese in London, Beirut Express is guaranteed to exceed your expectations. I think I need a loyalty card!

When Mac Met Cheese


When Mac Met Cheese….The world was a better place! A traditional English favourite and the only dish that this London pop-up serves. This is one of the first pop-up restaurants to hit West London, something of a revolution. WMMC has popped up in what is described as Notting Hill/Bayswater/Royal Oak. To be precise you will find it on Porchester Road, almost opposite the Waitrose. Not necessarily where you would expect to find London’s pop-up of the moment, but maybe that is the point and West London welcomes WMMC with open arms.

I am cutting to the chase – the carbs and dairy! To start, Mac and cheese balls, think of Italian arancini with mac and cheese replacing the traditional rice. The result is addictive, they couldn’t be naughtier of nicer if they tried. They are bursting with flavours that compliment the mac and cheese either truffle or jalpeno and cheddar.  When it comes to the main event, your decision is not what but which type of mac and cheese. Mum’s classic with mature cheddar, red leicester, Parmesan and nutmeg or Carlos  the Cactus with jalapeno, rocket and cherry tomatoes and finally the ever changing weekly special.  For us this was described as a cross between mac and cheese and a pizza. Basically Mac and cheese, incorporated with the tomato base of a pizza and all the toppings. I was lucky to sample all three and for me simplicity won, Mum’s Classic was to die for . It was was the perfect blend of creaminess, with just the right hint of nutmeg and of course as you would expect the pasta was cooked to perfection. The pizza cross was an interesting combination, the creaminess of the cheese sauce with the  sweetness and contrast of the tomato sauce – I was pleasantly surprised at how good this tasted. Carlos had a real kick to it and was broken up nicely by fresh rocket.

Starter and main down and I had eaten an obscene amount of Mac and cheese, in fact only mac and cheese! I felt happy and beyond satisfied, or did I? For dessert, in keep with the streamlined menu there was only one option – DEEP FRIED OREOS!!! Oh dear!! As if Oreos were not bad enough already, as if Oreos needed to be made any more MOREish. I could not resist the opportunity to try this naughty innovative dessert. They certainly did not disappoint, an Oreo slightly melted encased it what I would describe as a pastry. Almost like a mini doughnut but instead of jam, an Oreo. The dessert and in fact the whole restaurant is just the best guilty pleasure. For me macaroni cheese is so nostalgic, WMMC makes me feel instantly at home and very content. Warning this is a pop up, it has already been open for three months and by popular demand has extended but only until the beginning of July, go while you can!

Fred Segal Mauro Cafe

A Hollywood hangout, the cafe is part of a Cali based clothing retailer, at first I thought a random place for a brunch/lunch with the outside terrace over looking a not particularly picturesque parking lot. but hey it’s LA and this place is cool so there! As with most places in LA, Fred’s has lots of delicious healthy options yet not so healthy no taste! Perfect green juices and gluten free pasta if you so desire. So it is healthy but with a few naughty nuggets and in fitting with the US of A LARGE portions.

I ordered scrambled eggs on brioche you could decide if this came with salad and fresh fruit salad or salad and chips. I went with the former, a first to have eggs, fruit and salad but of course it went delightfully and now the only way I desire scrambled eggs to be served! The crowd here as with what seems like everywhere in LA is super cool, Biches and vibes all over the show, you will definitely bump into a movie star or some such like. Marvellous Melrose!

Chicken Shop

Sunday night blues? Want to eat something homely, slightly naughty but not Saturday night naughty?

Chicken Shop is nestled in a corner of North West London otherwise known as trendy Kentish Town. Chicken shop is an offspring of the Soho House group, hidden away in the basement below Pizza East. A restaurant where food envy is not a problem, this place only serves chicken and cooks every piece in the same way, roasted on a spit.

Your first decision would you like a whole, half or quarter chicken and secondly what would you like with it? Chips, corn on the cob and avocado salad are all good options. we ordered a whole chicken between 3 of us, it is served one one plate broken down into all the different joints, ready for you to dig in. The chicken is delicious, it tastes fresh tender and lovingly cooked! Of course being part of Soho House the look of the restaurant is perfect and an excited vibe as people try a new concept of the most simple of menus.

The rustic shabby chic feel works well and I Love the open plan kitchen so you can see, smell, inhale the chicken roasting in the very same room. In this place more than any other you are so thankful for the Cowshed handsoap and lotion because you haven’t eaten properly unless your hands are DIRTY! Low key and fun, perfect for a Sunday or early week supper.