Michael Deacon at Abd el Wahab in London
I went to Abd el Wahab twice. The first time was with two friends, but we’d just come from a funeral, and had had ever so slightly too much to drink at the wake. The upshot being that when I came to look at my notes afterwards, they were somewhat lacking in the detail necessary for compiling a 1,000word review. (Sample insight: ‘Potato.’)
So I went back again for lunch, this time alone. Only when the waiter started bringing out the food did I realise that I’d made an obvious mistake. More than once in this column I’ve written about the pleasures of eating out alone, and I stand by it. It’s great. But – as I should have remembered before going back to Abd el Wahab – there is a caveat. Don’t eat out alone if the restaurant is Lebanese.
This is because Lebanese food is not intended for one. It’s intended for groups. You order a range of dishes between you, and all dig in together. The food is social. The layout of tables at Abd el Wahab reflects this. There are very few tables for two. Mostly they’re for four or more.
And, as each dish is intended to be shared by several people, it tends to be reasonably generous. Which is why, on my second visit, I looked just a tiny bit silly, as the waiter began heaping my