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Dalila – Lebanese in Battersea

Any restaurant that opens next door to Santa Maria del Sur on Queenstown Road, Battersea, is going to have fierce competition.

It may not be surprising then, that Dalila’s predecessor, Tom Ilic – a French-style restaurant that looked like a carnivore’s dream – only lasted a couple of years. Disappointingly for me, it closed before making it to the top of my ‘to try’ list. Dalila, a classy Lebanese restaurant opened in 2013 in the same spot.

J and I came here on a Friday evening recently. At the end of a working week in the City where everywhere’s overcrowded and hectic, it was pleasing to get out of central London and unwind over great food and wine in the serene, spacious restaurant that is Dalila.

Fresh n crunchy falafel – divine

We ordered very leisurely. Our server gave us help with food and wine choices when asked. Nothing was rushed. We shared a ‘mezze’ selection of both hot and cold dishes, accompanied by a dry white Massaya Blanc wine from the Bekaa Valley @ £21.50 (very reasonably priced and very well suited to the food ordered – it went down very well).

I eat a fair amount of falafal. I love it. Some of the best I’ve had being from street food stalls. But Dalila’s falafel (deep fried beans, chickpeas and fine herbs croquettes, served with sesame paste @ £5.95) is in a league of its own. It is quite simply the best I’ve had, coated in coarse, crunchy crumb and stuffed with fresh herbs.

Just writing this makes me want to go back right now and eat some.

Hummus + moutabel dips with Lebanese pitta bread

The super-soft, stringy, melt-in-your-mouth halloumi was in a league of its own too. No rubbery squeaking here that you often get with supermarket longer life halloumi packets. Though I must admit I quite like a cheese that squeaks.

The moutabel (grilled aubergine puree with sesame paste and lemon juice @ £4.95), hummus @ £4.75 and fresh pitta bread, plus calamari pane (squid dipped in a spicy flour mixture and fried with garlic, coriander and chilli @ £5.95) were all an absolute treat.

Mixed mezze: halloumi, calamari so tender it melts in your mouth + samke harra fish

We also shared batata harra (potato cubes sautéed with garlic, sweet pepper, chilli, onions and fresh coriander @ £4.95), samke harra (grilled fish fillet with onions, garlic, tomatoes, green pepper, red pepper and coriander) @ £6.95 and – even though we were stuffed – managed to squeeze in five *tiny* baklawa pastries between us (filo pastry filled with ground nuts, baked and then drenched in honey) @ £3.95.

Samke harra fish mezze


Total bill for two including a 10% service charge was £78.16

The verdict: Dalila might be off the beaten track (it’s a few minutes walk from both Queenstown Road or Battersea Park rail stations or a good 15 minute walk from Clapham Common tube station) but it’s well worth a visit. Some of the best middle eastern food I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to go back.

The a la carte menu is reasonably priced as it is but they also offer set menus. And if you go during off peak hours, they accept Tastecard (currently 2-for-1 for a max of two people) but check the website for latest offers.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Lebanese
~ Address: 123 Queenstown Road, Battersea, London
~ Postcode: SW8 3RH
~ Tel: 020 7622 0555
~ Nearest train stations: Queenstown Road, Battersea Park (or Clapham Common tube station)
~ Website + menus: Dalila’s website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Dalila’s food
~ Location: Dalila’s map

More Battersea fine-dining:
~ Nancy Lam’s Enak Enak – *best* restaurant on Lavender Hill (Indonesian / SE Asian fusion)
~ Santa Maria del Sur

Dalila on Urbanspoon


One Response

  1. […] LINKS More Battersea dining: ~ Dalila – top Lebanese restaurant ~ Nancy Lam’s Enak Enak – *best* restaurant on Lavender […]

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