There is something charmingly rustic and ramshackle about the way everything seems to have been thrown together tightly into a small space at Gahwet Mezza, a new edition to Levant-inspired eatery Mezza House. From fun and modern touches such as chalkboards inside the tables, to the display of old-fashioned and colourful telephones and other memorabilia on the shelves, there is a fun, fresh and vintage Beiruti feel to this spot.
The air was flooded with a gorgeous smell of cooking on our visit on a Friday night, and the place was busy with tables of several nationalities. But rather than being an entirely different concept to Mezza House located on its own upstairs, it’s in fact a small room offering the same food menu. Still, the plates on a nearby table looked appetising, and the classic Lebanese dishes on the menu looked good and plenty were flagged up as ‘new’.
The food began flooding the table, in nicely timed intervals and none of it disappointed. The hummus Beiroute, topped with fresh tomato was exceptionally creamy, the basket of Lebanese pastries were classic, varied and well-made. The waiter had been happy to give us a mannakish with cheese and zaatar mixed together, despite being listed separately on the menu, and this was also good. We were brought the chicken livers with pomegranate molasses, rather than the more unusual dish with lemon which we had actually ordered, but I can’t criticise the dish we did get. The mousakhan rolls were made with shredded chicken and onion housed inside rolls of ultra-crisp flatbread, served with a simple yoghurt dip, which I really enjoyed.
The halloumi with roasted aubergine was a tiny bowl packed with lovely Mediterranean flavours, surrounding by fresh spinach and a pesto-style dressing. My only issue is that I realised much later we were charged for two different plates of hummus when we only ordered one.
Having unintentionally over-ordered for our appetites, we asked the waiter to box up a few favourites to take home. I was initially surprised, followed by quite impressed, when the waiter warned us that the restaurant would rather we didn’t take items such as the chicken livers home in case we became ill due to the varying change in temperatures the meat would inevitably suffer on its journey back. While this may seem obvious, it felt like a final touch of efficient and well-informed service.