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10 Devonshire Square
Etched brass, glowing lanterns, tapestries, embroidered pillows and the aroma of sweet spices all help to give Kenza its atmospheric vibe (the name is Arabic for ‘treasure’). Set up by Algerian-born Tony Kitous (of Comptoir Libanais fame), this exotic hangout is known for its heady mix of “charming” service, blasting North African beats and home-style Lebanese cooking. Char-grilled meats, kebabs, tagines and other mainstays loom large, although we recommend the feast menu with its ample selection of mezze: tabbouleh, batata harra (spicy sautéed potatoes with red pepper), falafel, fatayer sabanegh (spinach, pine nut and sumac pastries) and suchlike. For mains, there might be moussaka or farowj meshwi – charcoal-grilled baby chicken with a Lebanese salad, rice and harissa, which can be matched to a North African wine from the international list. Afterwards, pop down to the cocktail lounge for DJ sounds and belly dancing.
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Best Middle Eastern
10 Devonshire Square
020 3589 2126
Liverpool Street Tube Station 222m
Aldgate Tube Station 353m
Liverpool Street 253m
Mon-Sat 12N-10.30pm (Sat 5pm- )
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Kenza seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. Billing itself as Lebanese, it is a bit of a middle eastern occidental confusion. Let's start with the food. All actually very good. We ordered 8 "starters" to create a mezze between three of us, which we couldn't finish. Very nice kibbe, both the lamb and the pumpkin - aromatic, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Weirdly served with tahini. Should be labne. The fattayer were well cooked, but not nearly lemony enough without the slightest hint of all spice and the tabbouleh lacked wheat to create texture. A real highlight was the fantastic baba ganoush and delicious felafel, however, felafel should always be served with lettuce and kabis. There were none! This is a such a no no. Finally the bread - I wouldn't go so far as to call it baladi - was great, except that it was microwaved as it went really hard a third of the way through the meal. Oven anyone?
I do have an Egyptian father so maybe my expectations were too traditional, but the idea of a Lebanese restaurant with no kabis, makes the mind boggle.
On the fun side - if you like that sort of thing - there is a 20 minute belly dancing show at 1930, surprising for a Monday and a soundtrack blasting Moroccan (?) music throughout.
The cocktails are delicious and the service is charming. It's a good night out if you aren't expecting home cooking, which probably the Brits won't be! For less than £120 for the three of us, it's worth it.
Food + drink: 4
Throughly enjoyed the meal and evening out.
The truly fabulous food is thoroughly let down by the service and the most vulgar and obnoxious manager I have ever come across and the poor wait staff. This is the second time I have had this problem.
In short, took an age to order, menu was unclear as you cannot mix and match set menus, told mains would be a further 15 mins having already waited 25 mins. When we said we’d leave the food as late to meet other chums the food arrived within 5 mins.
I had hoped that the service issues were a one off as the food is amazing. Sadly not – I wont be going back! I recommended this restaurant to a vegetarian friend for her birthday. How much of a fool did I feel. They did give two bottles of complementary wine, sadly too little too late!
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