Abd el Wahab, Belgravia: Restaurant review
Abd el Wahab brings middle eastern feasting and a solid Lebanese wine list to Belgravia. Here's why you should visit
What's the draw?
Authentic Lebanese food can be hard to come by in London, so Abd el Wahab comes to a stately corner of Belgravia with the intention of shaking that up a little. The restaurant, which originated on a street of the same name in Lebanon's capital of Beirut, is all about Middle Eastern feasting: expect bountiful mezze, charcoal-grilled meat and a lengthy list of Lebanese wines.
What to drink
You'd be insane if you went for anything that wasn't Lebanese – not because the wines from elsewhere are uninteresting (with the dubious exception of a few supermarket favourites snuck on with a punchy mark-up), but because you're unlikely to get access to a list of Lebanese wines this long anywhere else. We went for the Ksara Reserve du Couvent 2015: a short, sharp hit of white pepper and tannins that opened up into a sweet, juicy red when paired with the mezze.
What to eat
Now, about that mezze: we tried the supple and nutty red-pepper mhammara dip, as well as an aubergine moutabal that was smoky, lemony and rich with pungent olive oil. When it comes to mains it's hard to ignore the mixed grill, which is as heady with charcoal flavour as you'd want, and thrives with the added juice of a well-made garlic sauce for dipping. You'd be a fool not to get the lamb shank ouzi somewhere near your table too, though: tender lamb meets a rich liquor of parsley and allspice, while the accompanying rice is lifted with toasted pistachio and almond. These are just a couple of dishes in a menu that's a roll-call for Eastern Mediterranean classics, though. Sojok sausage? Check. Fattoush salad? Yep. Shawarma pittas? Oh, go on then. Basically, this isn't complex or purposefully fancy dining, it's straight-up Middle Eastern comfort food – the kind of food you can eat in spades.
Mains from £16.50; wines from £7.50 by the glass. 1-3 Pont Street, W1S SW1X 9EJ; ghiaholding.com