Chatting Food contributor Erica Pilavaki sorts the best from the rest at Lebanese mezze restaurant Massis
The residents of Edgware Rd have long been spoiled for choice with regards to Lebanese restaurants but just around the corner, you'll find Massis in the buzzy Paddington Central development of Sheldon Square.
No doubt the mezze-focussed menu is perfect for those quick social lunches with colleagues or after-work drinks with a smattering of sharing plates. There's a terrace too that would be great for people watching in warmer weather, but alas I visited on a cold, wet afternoon.
It was difficult choosing what to order as I'm a great admirer of Lebanese food, however you can tell a lot about a place by its hummus. Massis's hummus left me nodding and smiling as I dipped and mopped thin shards of crispy bread into the bowl. I knew I’d eaten something great that day. The moutabal dip (aubergine dip topped with pomegranate seeds) must also be praised although I felt it could be a little bit more smokey to add more depth of flavour.
Next came all the wonderfully fried things: falafel (chickpea and fava bean), Kibbeh Kras (minced lamb meatballs mixed with cracked wheat, onion and pine nuts) and Cheese Sambousek (little pastries stuffed with halloumi, feta cheese and parsley), all served piping hot out the frier, all tasted homemade and all delicious in their own way.
On to the meat, a mix of lamb and chicken shawarma - on a bed of corn tortillas? I think that's where the 'Lebanese mezze reimagined' part of the menu sits. The meat was appetisingly succulent with soft and crispy bits but what is needed is a soft but sturdy bread to hold all the meat, not a soggy tortilla.
The food is at Massis is cleanly, casually presented but there’s nothing 'slapdash' about it. There are cold and hot mezze, ranging from £4.50 to £12 so you can comfortably order a table's worth of food without breaking the bank. Service was distinctly basic but I would happily return if I worked nearby.
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Chatting Food Contributor: Erica Pilavaki
Growing up with the aroma of meat grilling over open coals, views of vine wrapped mountains and surrounded by the abundant seas of Cyprus, Erica has food and drink in her heart and soul. Contact Erica about London restaurant recommendations and the latest products in food and drink.
Follow Erica @erica_eeeats