Karim's Garden of Delights

Trip Start May 31, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our new uncle was so anxious and eager to get us into his favorite Lebanese restaurant, we just had to take a look for ourselves. David had mentioned the wonderful food, the great service and the reasonable prices but he never mentioned the magic of the place itself.

That's why when Ed and I walked in to Karim's place for our dinner date with David and Lucy, we instantly knew why this place was special. There were only about 5 to 7 tables in the small restaurant, which looked more like the dining room of a private home. The kitchen was not an industrial kitchen but rather the homely  kitchen one's grandmother might have. Baskets of fresh aubergines, ripe tomatoes, mushrooms and cucumbers were displayed on the kitchen counter right in front of where the dishes were prepared.

The whole room smelled of mint, coriander and lemon juice with a spicy hint of peppers and there was slow sexy Arabic music playing in the background. We were greeted by Karim who already knew we were going, who we were and that we were vegetarians. We were seated and through our fist glass of wine, David mentioned there was no menu: if Karim knows you well enough he will just cook for you. And so he did.

We had mezze of egg-plant and olive oil pate, mint couscous, red pepper humus, tiny donut shaped falafels, and roasted cauliflowers in spicy lemon juice. We ate and ate while Karim worked his magic in the small open kitchen, sending out intense vapors and scents, instinctively opening up our bellies to more and more food.

 It was impossible to be bored in this little Lebanese jewel of a restaurant, everywhere you looked there was something interesting to rest your gaze in. Decorations of all sorts covered every corner, niche, and hole. Bright colorful paintings on the walls, little red lamps and lanterns hanging from the ceiling, violins, guitars and an accordion placed around the salon, a little fake apple tree with bright red apples, rose colored mantels with tiny flowery details, hand painted fans, porcelain dolls, mugs, jars, vases, teapots, wreaths of apricot colored roses and shiny garlands hung from every lamp. It reminded me for some reason, of Hieronymus Bosch´s Garden of Delights.

One too many glasses of red wine later and with wriggling bellies we managed to pry ourselves from our seats -which were rather quite comfy- to call it a night. We thanked Karim for the wonderful attention and the lovely home cooked food and congratulated him on a beautiful restaurant. I had certainly never encountered a place as enchanting as this in all my years of eating out. And since its such an exclusive London treasure, I think I'll keep it a secret and pass it down only to trustworthy friends, like David and Lucy did.
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uncle_davros on

Good Food
Yes, I know it all, but it was it a great night or what. The food, the wine, Regina, Karim, now can you understand why I keep going back.

We must do it again

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