‘Lebanese mezze, Cantonese dim sum and Basque pinchos have all evolved over years and are designed to make sense together’ – Yotam Ottolenghi
You just need to scan through my Instagram account to know that there’s nothing I love more than shoveling food in my gob.
We try and go out for dinner together at least once a month, or whenever we can afford it really (or if the diet allows). As we weren’t at work the next day, we decided this week to do something totally crazy and venture out for dinner on a Tuesday night (I know, I know, we’re simply bonkers!)
My boss has been raving about this place for months and months. He’d already given me some good tips in Ernest and The Broadchare so I trust his judgement. Hitting up Westgate road on a dark February evening however didn’t fill me with too much confidence and although I love the new Lebanese gaff Bake One in Gosforth, I was dubious about trying Fattoush.
Despite it also being a take away the interior is pretty welcoming. Despite it being so early in the week there were a smattering of families and other couples, which was reassuring. It’s nothing fancy but has plenty of roomy tables and big black comfy chairs. We were greeted warmly and sat down immediately and offered drinks. It’s probably best to mention at this point that Fattoush doesn’t have an alcohol licence so it’s purely softies, which didn’t matter to us being a Tuesday night but thought it best to make it clear. I’ve heard they run a BYOB system but whether that’s true or not I’m not sure, I didn’t see anyone there drinking when we were there – But it was only Tuesday night.
Being very much Lebanese rookies we were a bit overwhelmed by the menu, which is split into starters, mezze, mains, sandwiches etc so we asked our waitress for some advice; who explained that the flat bread, chilli and garlic dips were on the house, so after what seemed like a further hour and a half deliberation we settled on a a Tabouleh dip, a shawarma salad (shawarma is the Lebanese version style kebab meat you see in takeaways; but not rank) and two mezze dishes of deep fried lamb meatballs and more shawarma meat in hummus. A veritable feast I’m sure you’ll agree!
I’m not sure what I was expected but I didn’t expect to enjoy what we had s much. The fact it’s also a take away put me off a little bit but I needn’t have worried because everything we had was gorgeous. Everything tasted unbelievably fresh, even down to the bread and dips (which we were regularly asked if we wanted replenishing – which we were regularly agreeable to). The shawarma was definitely the highlight; dodgy backstreet elephants leg this is not, both lamb and chicken meats were tasty and succulent despite not being seasoned with much at all. Portions were sizable; I think along with all the bread and dips you can have you really needn’t order too much, we left with considerable full tummies and only £22 lighter for the whole meal.
When we were finished we were offered some traditional mint tea on the house seeing as the deer in headlights look on our newbie faces must have pulled at the heartstrings of our lovely waitress. That was a great end to a lovely meal. Service was very swift and friendly, they have very much adopted the Wagamama style of serving of just bringing things out as they’re ready, not that that bothers us, we’re happy for a conveyor belt of food to just keep on coming indefinitely!
With so many Italian restaurants, pub-cum-steakhouses and gourmet burger joints popping up all over the place, Fattoush really is a hidden gem if you fancy something different. If you can get over the fact it’s possibly not located in the most salubrious part of town, I think you’d be hard pushed not to come away full and happy (albeit ready for a glass of wine!)