I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running www.casadelcorazon.mx with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on www.bollocks2thewellingtons.com/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.