One Friday lunchtime a few weeks back I met @chrispople for a bite to eat. This was a case of third time lucky having been twice cancelled due to illness and the like.
I was pretty keen to see what Jad Youssef's Yalla Yalla had to offer having read some rave reviews following the June opening. Having unsuccessfully tried to book for dinner back then we thought lunch would be a safer bet and arrived early to snag a window seat overlooking the picturesque little Soho alleyway. Picturesque it is not in fact and we needn't have got there early because whilst it did fill a bit - there are only 8 or so tables - there was none of the reported din I'd read of in others accounts.
We were served some lovely little appetizers, jalapenos and pickled ginger, these were very good, the olives were ok, we gobbled them hungrily whilst ordering tap water and our chosen dishes.
First to arrive was the hommos and halloumi along with some lovely warm fluffy pittas. I liked the texture of the hommos, plenty of olive oil on the top and a generous smattering of chickpeas, this was really very good. The grilled halloumi, served with more of the black olives and fresh mint was satisfyingly salty and contrasted nicely by the sliced tomatoes upon which it sat.
Unlike the falafel which Chris noted was crying out for seasoning, I liked the sesame crunch of the exterior but the filling was a little bland. The tahini and garlic yoghurt sauce was a nice accompaniment moistening the dish, this also came with a side of red onion salad. All offerings are generously garnished.
The main of lahém meshoué (lamb skewers) was good, the meat was delicious, perhaps a tad over cooked for my liking and the curious thing about the main dishes is that the meat is served on a bed of vermicelli rice, on a flatbread. There's a lot of carb going on, though the rice had some fried onion mixed through it, when what you really want is the meat. It also comes with a rather excellent sumac onion salad which was very good indeed. A perfect lunch for 1 dish I suppose but it didn't really seem to fit with the rest of our dishes. There was also a pot of garlic sauce that was more like a garlic jelly and was very potent, a bit too much so for an afternoon of meetings back at work!
This all came to just shy of £20, not cheap but I did feel pretty full up. The lack of queuing patrons suggesting to me that the initial excitement has worn off for most but I'll definitely return, probably for dinner rather than lunch.
1 Green's Court,