Saturday, 12 September 2009

Restaurant Review: Emads, Surrey Hills

For the second Friday night in a row I found myself in Surrey Hills for some after work frivolity. A week ago I was sampling a few of the watering holes with some friends from the UK. Last night I had dinner at one of the Lebanese restaurants.

I hadn't noticed before last night that Surrey Hills has a concentration of Lebanese restaurants. We choose Emads, which Dave and Ali had eaten in before. I'm guessing that the restaurant was in a converted house and I can't decide if it was shabby chic or just a bit shabby. We were seated upstairs at a low table with cushioned benches, the uneven floors and narrow staircase all adding to the character. A trip to the loo involved walking through the kitchen and into the garden. (Where there was an outside loo, you weren't expected to use a flower bed!)

All of the dishes on the menu were meze style and we doubled up on most to satisfy our group of six. First to arrive were tabbouleh, hummus, babah ganoush and flat breads. Hungry from the day at work (and appetite whetted by a couple of beers) we all dived in. The tabbouleh was fresh and fragrant and I liked the smokiness of the babah ganoush. The hummus was nothing out of the ordinary and the flat breads paled in comparison to the homemade wonders of Meze Mangal.

Next to arrive were vine leaves, served warm which I think was a first for me, and lady fingers. Besides tasting great, I'm not 100% sure what the lady fingers actually were. Filo parcels of minced lamb, chopped nuts and spices? We also had some stuffed courgettes / zucchini which came in a tomato sauce and foul madames, slow cooked fava beans. Both were a first for me.

Rounding off the meal were the Lebanese sausages, which were strongly flavoured with cinnamon, and lamb shish kebabs. The kebabs were the best dish we ate. Like a French steak the lamb had been heavily salted before being cooked and it was more flavoursome and tender as a result.

Towards the end of the evening a belly dancer came to our table to entertain. Comically she stopped and started twice as the music cut in and out. Giving up when the music faded away for the second time we only got half a dance. In many ways it summed up the restaurant.

Cheap, cheerful and a fun experience.

Emad's on Urbanspoon


  1. It's not fair on *anyone* to compare their bread with Meze Mangal's..!