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Valentino Restaurant

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by Ian Marshall (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on or
Published June 15th 2013
Dips and kebabs on Edgware Road
We took a stroll down the Edgware Road the other night in search of some Middle Eastern cuisine without knowing which of the many restaurants down here were any good.

Valentino, Edgware Road, Shisha, Iraqi

We were drawn in by Valentino because of the people sitting outside and the rather plush looking frontage which made it seem a little more welcoming than the more run down establishments full of men smoking shisha. I'm sure these other places have their charm and might be a more authentic experience in some ways, but we were sucked in by a bit of chintz and sat down amongst the Egyptian hieroglyphs decorating the walls.

Valentino, Edgware Road, Egyptian, Iraqi

We weren't actually that hungry so decided to just share a cold mixed starter and have one other starter. This latter is a pan fried dish where crushed rice parcels containing minced lamb are served with lemon. It was a little dry and brittle and could have been warmer but had a pleasing cinnamon taste.

Valentino, Edgware Road, Kubba Halab, Iraqi
Kubba Halab
The mixed starter set was basically a big dish of dips served with some enormous flat bread (which just kept coming, even when we had barely touched the last lot!)

Flatbread, Valentinos, Edgware Road

Mixed Starters, Valentino, Edgware Road, Hummous, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh, Vine Leaves
Mixed Starters

This came with some stuffed vine leaves poking from the hummous, garlic dip, tzatziki, tabouleh and baba ganoush. The hummous was thick and oily, significantly better than your average supermarket tub while the garlic was perhaps a bit strong. The baba ganoush was good though, with a smoky taste that gave it some depth.

To wash this down we had a pot of Iraqi tea - charcoal brewed and quite bitter. It came in a splendid teapot though.

Teapot, Valentino, Edgware Road
Teapot dude

We were kind of impressed with Valentinos, the food was good and we didn't really get any main courses. The service was a bit all over the place - at one point my girlfriend got jostled by a waiter while she was pouring tea only to have it spill on the table. He didn't even notice.
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Why? Iraqi food
When: Monday - Friday 08:00am - 00:30pm, Saturday 10:00am - 00:30pm, Sunday 10am - 11:00pm
Phone: 0207 2624127
Where: Edgware Road
Cost: Starters from 4 Mains around 7-13
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