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|Address:||48-50 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5AR|
|Tel:||020 7431 5855|
|Price: £39.00||Wine: £15.50||Champagne: £45.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-3pm Mon-Sun 6-11pm|
This review hasn't been rated yet.
Why am I writing this review ?
Not because this is an existential piece of self examination, but because I disagree with quite a lot that Food Fiend has written – not that I doubt her experience or sincerity but, simply put: my experience and hers are quite different.
I have posted a number of reviews of restaurants my wife and I frequent which are within walking distance of where we live. We used to come to this site for romantic candle-lit dinners when Conrad's Bistro used to be here in the early 1970ies and we were both very young and, basically, penniless. When, a couple of generations later, Retsina opened here, I confess I was not a fan but I have slowly been won over. To the point that my overall opinion is that the food here is incomparably better than, say, Lemonia which is closer to where we live. True, Lemonia has a cracking atmosphere and a congenial setting , but here the food is in my view cooked on a far less industrial scale and with much more care. The results are as similar and cheese and chalk !
I was among a party of six friends of long standing last night. Often we meet up with one or both of our sons here for dinner on Sunday nights. The place was last night, and is normally, full – or nearly so – at 8.30pm when we tend to arrive. It seems obvious that six friends catching-up with each other are likely to enjoy themselves, so the likely success of the evening was always a probability which the food enhanced rather than detracted from. We had a bunch of starters, the usual suspects: humous, tarama, haloumi, pastourman… all these were reliably produced, and tasted as expected. The Chilean Sauvignon blanc and the Argentinian Shiraz Cabernet were reasonably priced and eminently drinkable. How much more can you ask for ?
I normally have chicken souvla, which runs out early because it is slow cooked and SOOOO tender… and not bulk produced (a definite tick in the box). Two people had that last night and enthused ! My wife had the chicken kebab which she always looks forward to and was not disappointed by. One of the guys had the liver and onion which looked excellent (and I don't eat offal if I have a choice) and was pronounced to be just that. I had the lamb stew with spinach – which I found melted in the mouth, had no fat, and both tasty and subtle at the same time. True, the next table full of late twenties lads was loud – but restaurants (especially this sort of Levantine cuisine) are to be enjoyed: you can keep the funeral atmosphere of the more traditional restaurants for your maiden aunt (I haven't got one).
Lastly, this is a family run restaurant and familiarity does not breed contempt. Regulars are appreciated and well treated. I recommend that (if you have read this far) you become one.