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Al Hamra Lebanese Restaurant

Al Hamra Lebanese Restaurant

31-33 Shepherd Market
London W1J 7PT
Tel.: 0207 493 1954

Plush? I suppose it's trying to upstage the other restaurants nearby.

Pleasant enough staff.

I was presented with mixed olives and a big - no, enormous, dish of salad vegetables (crudites) which I hadn't asked for - I asked the waiter if he was joking, I told him I couldn't possibly eat all that! There was enough for a salad for two - there were even a couple of very large green chillies.

I have to say that this had a poor effect on my visit - finding this dish plonked in front of me was too much and began to reduce my appetite. I do not know if this is standard Lebanese practice - if it is, I would still expect some sort of "introduction" to it - especially as the waiter could no doubt see my consternation.

A glass of house red was pleasant enough.

Tabouleh was lacking in flavour, and too "wet" - almost as though the rinsing water hadn't been drained properly.

My main course, charcoal grilled lamb, rice with spicy tomato sauce, was brought too early. I asked for it to be taken back to be kept warm as I struggled to get through the Tabouleh (by then I was rushing it because I didn't want the main course to be ruined..)

By the time my main course is presented, I have lost most of my appetite.

The lamb is just about acceptable, but by now, everything is getting cold. The Spicy Tomato Sauce for the rice is thin and not spicy. It too is cold.

Now, I am acknowledged as a slow eater, but this could not be the reason my meal went cold. Timing was one factor, but also, there was a distinct problem with the main entrance, which let blasts of cold air in whenever anyone opened the door. One lady near me asks if the heating is on - she thinks she is being blasted by air-conditioning - not so, says the waiter - the heating is in fact on. Nevertheless, a few minutes later, the lady has to ask the waiter for her coat - which she dons for the remainder of her meal!

Turkish coffee with cardamon is interesting - very strongly flavoured of cardamon.

The place is flling up by seven thirty

33.75 Service not included (Cover 2.50 Tabouleh 6.00 Lahem Meshwi 14.50 Rice Sauce 4.00 Arabic Coffee 2.75 Glass House Red 4.00)

Overall, I was disappointed with the experience.

Sandro Melkuhn


Eatanddrink Ratings

Al Hamra

Total Score: 61%
Quality: Average
Service: Average
Facilities: Average
Ambience: Average
Value: Average


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