Review on Abu Zaad
'Great for real roots food' was Time Out's verdict on this fiercely local Shepherd's Bush bolthole. The owners claim that they serve 'Damascene cuisine': in reality most punters define it as authentically Syrian.
The décor is no great shakes, with just a few pottery artefacts dotted around, photos of old Damascus on the walls, a few ornate decorative touches and a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling, but it's the food that matters. Added to that it's ridiculously cheap, and the staff are as joyous and sympathetic as you could wish for.
A counter packed with meze is one of the focal points and the range is as expected: hummus, stuffed vine leaves, pastries filled with spinach, onions and sumak, plus a few esoteric delicacies like fatit makdous (boiled lamb meat and fried aubergine).
In the open kitchen, they prepare stews, give the char-grill plenty of use and produce superb stone-baked bread, which accompanies just about everything. The list of main courses has some fascinating delicacies including molokhia (a plant related to okra) with chicken cooked in coriander and garlic, and that even more curious Syrian household staple 'mashi' (courgettes or cabbage stuffed with spicy mince in a milky sauce). Abu Zaad is unlicensed, so content yourself with fresh tropical fruit juice or mint tea. Even so, this is a gem.
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Restaurant Opening Times
Lunch: 12.00 through until
Dinner: 11.00pm Mon-Sun
Accepted credit cards
Visa, Master Card