Ta­ble talk

Michael Dea­con at Abd el Wa­hab in Lon­don

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents - Michael Dea­con

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

Pho­to­graphs: Jasper Fry

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