LDNReview

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8.1

Em Sherif

££££

Em Sherif, located in the depths of Harrods, is the place to come when you’re in the mood to spend some serious money and eat some seriously good hummus fatteh. Part of the popular restaurant group of the same name, Em Sherif originated in Beirut and now has locations across the UAE, Egypt, and Syria that are renowned for fine dining and excellent Lebanese food. And its latest London spot lives up to the gold standard the group sets for elevated traditional dishes.

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When you finally overcome the capitalist obstacle course that is Harrods, survive four unsolicited spritzes of the latest Caroline Herrera, and arrive at Em Sherif, you’ll find blue and white tiled walls, mirrored ceilings, and a spacious dining room filled with people who didn't happen to just stumble across this spot after some casual shopping—because this is the destination. The atmosphere is relaxed, with friendly servers and an energy that doesn’t feel like they’re using tweezers to place edible flowers on anything in the kitchen. No one will bat an eyelid if you rock up in jeans and a t-shirt and we’re big fans of the fact that it doesn't feel too serious or fine dining-esque, but it also doesn’t feel like there's been any major attempt to make you feel like you're not in a department store. The food, however, will make you forget all about the Canada Goose jackets that are still within eyeshot. And that you’re paying £16 for the hummus.

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Unlike the various other locations where you'll be restricted to a set tasting menu, in London you can choose whatever you want—and it should be all the starters because the mezze is really special. From the thick, nutty hummus covered in sautéed lamb to the refreshingly yoghurt-heavy chickpea fatteh, it’s unlike anything we’ve eaten at other Lebanese spots in the city. Get a mix of the hot and cold starters and, while the grilled baby chicken and beef shawarma are solid options, don’t worry too much about the mains—the small plates are where it’s at. Basically, your table should look like a game of tetris with plates of swiss chard stuffed with citrussy rice, tomato, and parsley, crisp falafel balls, and bowls of tender aubergine fatteh that turn into a yoghurty, crispy, bready mess on your plate. 

So yes, it’s a meal that can easily set you back £150-200 per head but this is the kind of excellent food that you won’t regret spending it on. The Em Sherif twist on traditional classics also make the food here significantly more exciting than other high-end Lebanese places. Just don’t use the perfume hall as a shortcut to get here.

Food Rundown

Lamb Hummus

A thick, nutty hummus covered in sautéed lamb, this is probably the best version of this dish you’ll find in London. The bowl will be wiped clean before you even have time to question if you really paid £25.50 for it.

Kibbeh Sajiyeh

This kibbeh is better than you. Don’t take it personally, it’s better than all of us. It arrives as five little golden patties with a crispy bulgar exterior, filled with perfectly spiced sumac beef and confit onion. It 100% needs to be on your table.

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Falafel

You know that falafel wrap you got from Pret the other day? Yeah, the falafel here is so good it will stop you from ever being able to do that again. Crispy and light,it's a real winner.

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Fattet Hummus

This might be our favourite dish here. A bowl layered with whole chickpeas, drowning in a creamy garlic yoghurt, and topped with toasted pine nuts and crispy fried bread. You won’t find this dish in every Lebanese restaurant and even if you do, there's a good chance that this one’s better.

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Spinach Fatayer

Small three-bite pastries filled with a tangy, sumac-heavy spinach and onion, this is the kind of versatile delicious snack that can be eaten at any hour of the day.

Fattouch

This is a refreshing, delicious fattouch salad with a great ratio of leaves to crispy fried pitta.

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