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!