Friday, 25 January 2008

Where To Eat This WeekEnd? Think Lebanese!

Bored of Pizza Express or Cafe Rouge? Would you like to go to a place that is original and would still have the kids? Then Lebanese Restaurant Momo Franks in Blackheath is the place to be.

The restaurant has only been there for the past six months and they seem to be doing mightily well for someone who has just started. This is a family run business and the food is all home-made. The recipes are a mix of superb authentic Lebanese and Middle Eastern cooking. For someone who has travelled to the Middle East fairly often and has dined in the houses of locals there I can assure you that this is the closest I have yet come across to the original thing in London. Really, it is that good.

We had made reservations in advance, something I do recommend, particularly if you are there on the week-end. The place is not big and the tables were all occupied save for our table. We were there on time and had no problems. The whole place as you walk in is very reminiscent of restaurants or bistros back in Lebanon with its rustic furniture and Hubble bubbles (Sheesha) dotted around the place. A shame with the smoking ban though is that you can't have one brought to your table (I guess you can't have everything).

We placed our order and were told that some of the items we requested were not available as they had been so busy that day and had simply run out. Of course we were disappointed but it also gave the impression that things really were freshly made. So there was some solace in the matter although for their sake I do hope that they will not be making a habit out of it. They said they had run out and it was only 3 in the afternoon and this is a place that opens well into the evening. So how they are going to cope remains questionable.

Anyway, what we did ask for and did receive was just wonderful. I highly recommend the Hommos (chickpea puree with sesame paste, tahine and lemon juice - £2.25). We also asked for the Falafel (chickpeas, parsley, garlic and cumin croquettes - £2.95). But the king of the table had to be the Magdous which was a fantastic dish of whole aubergines stuffed with walnuts and spices served cold - £2.95 (more like a pickle really) and utterly palatable. All this comes with warm pitta bread that we couldn't seem to get enough of.

For the main course we shared the kofta kebab (£6.95). A big portion of grilled kebabs, boiled rice, salad and a cucumber mint yogurt. Yummy. By the time it came to desserts we were too full and skipped that part (will review those at a later time) but the kids did enjoy a moist chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream.

On the whole this was a very pleasant experience and the food was authentic as can be. The owners were very nice and there is a homey feel to the place. Unfortunately the only aspect they need to work on much more thoroughly is the service. There was only one waitress for the whole crowded place and she was having quite a time handling it all. But we do see ourselves going there time and again as the prices were very reasonable as well.

According to their brochure, Momo Franks offers an outside catering service for office meetings and all special events. You can also book the place for special events as it caters for up to 60 people. They do a take-away and free home delivery for orders above £15.

Momo Franks
56 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath,
London, SE3 0BD
Tel: 020 8318 9997

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