There are between 7 and 10 million Lebanese and Syrians in Brazil. And about 4 million of them are in Sao Paolo alone. As a result, Lebanese food is very familiar to Brazilians and specialities like sfiha (a term that covers both manaqish and fatayer) and kibbe have become part of the national culinary repertoire. And of course there are Lebanese restaurants galore. Some are good and some not so. I have now tried three and each is good in its own way even if they serve a different cuisine from the one I was brought up with. I guess it is because they have been in Brazil for several generations; and despite having preserved their culinary repertoire, serving unusual dishes like shish barak which is not normally found on restaurant menus, they have adapted and changed them slightly. A few days ago, I was taken by adorable Luiz Henrique Ligabue to Casa Garabed which loved, particularly the fact that it is in the garage and one bedroom of the owner’s home giving the restaurant a rather unusual feel: part bistrot and part home dining.
Today is the official opening of Mark’s Tramshed, a fabulous space and fortunately just round the corner from where I live. I ate there yesterday. Very simple menu: a starter made of three different dishes (love the idea of the yorkshire pudding with chicken liver mousse) followed by roast chicken or steak served with French fries and a small selection of puddings. I am trying the steak tomorrow and will probably have it on a regular basis after that. I love going out for a quick lunch on my own and I am lucky to have several lovely restaurants near me where I can do just that. Anyway, the Tramshed is a great addition to the neighbourhood. Beautiful room, cool diners (lots of local British artists — I spotted Julian Opie and Tracey Emin) and a lovely owner!
So, I went back to Dinings again for lunch today and I have to say it was not as perfect as yesterday. I am not sure why. Perhaps it was because my brother wasn’t so impressed. He prefers Defune and was slightly annoyed that we hadn’t gone there — he is a little bit of a traditionalist as far as Japanese food goes and we have been going to Defune for nearly 40 years. At least I have. He came to London a few years after me. Anyhow, we still enjoyed our lunch and I will definitely go back although not in a hurry as it is not quite the cheapest place in town. Here are a few snaps of what we ate. Yet again, I failed to snap my toro hand roll. I am always in a hurry to eat these before the nori goes soggy. I will make sure to snap it next time!
It has taken me years to get there but I finally did, and yesterday I had lunch at Dinings after a diabolical 5 hour delay flying back from Houston which meant I had to go there straight from the airport. But given its location off the Edgware Road, it was no big deal – a super fast ride to Paddington on the Heathrow express then one station on the tube to Edgware Rd. And I loved my lunch so much that I am going back today with my brother to try the rest of the menu! Of all that I had yesterday my favourites were the fatty tuna chips above, the eel (unagi) with sautéed foie gras, the seaweed salad and the very unusual black sesame dessert (all below) not to mention the prawn tempura hand rolls which I greedily ate before remembering to snap them. Everything was so pretty to look at, which is not surprising in a Japanese restaurant and supremely delicious. Can’t wait till lunchtime when hopefully I will remember to take a few more snaps to either add here or to a new post!