Six of One: A Family Affair
Yasmina and five other places try in London this week
Good morning and welcome back to Vittles Restaurants!
A Vittles subscription costs £5/month or £45/year. If you’ve been enjoying the writing then please consider subscribing to keep it running — it will give you access to the whole Vittles back catalogue — including Normal Country, London restaurant guides and all new columns.
Six of One is a column dedicated to London restaurant recommendations. In each newsletter, we send out a tip from six writers for six different restaurants, bakeries, cafes or takeaways that deserve to be better known.
You can find the full Six of One back catalogue below:
Polentina and five other recommendations; Inihaw plus five; Kulcha Express plus five; Triple One Café plus five; Samak Seafood plus five; Lakehouse Hungarian; Restaurant plus five; Salteñas Martin plus five; Best Foods Supermarket plus five; Thenga Cafe plus five; Charcoal Champ plus five; Chai Kadai plus five, Fine Cut Butchers and Steakhouse plus five; Souvlakiland plus five, and Bali Satay House, plus five.
Today’s recommendations are from Zayneb Al Asaadi, Zahra Al Asaadi, Rohan Jones, Joel Hart, Gavin Cleaver, and Montague Ashley-Craig.
Yasmina, the Lebanese restaurant and bakery overlooking an inconsequential stretch of the A40 in Acton, needs no introduction. Much has been written about its manai’sh; it’s one of the best bakeries serving them in west London. The spinach and red onion manousha – lathered in tangy and acidic sumac and citric acid – comes up top in my own highly personal manousha list (this quest comes with very specific criteria and is both a national and global one I take very seriously).
However, I want to talk about Yasmina the restaurant and the role it has played as a trusted local for our family over the past 15 years. Now, I must preface this by explaining that my brother is afflicted with a very sensitive stomach: just looking at a piece of fatty lamb is enough to send him into a three-day food poisoning hellhole. His food requirements are so arduous and bizarrely specific that he makes Karl Pilkington look like the world’s most laid-back traveller. Over the past 15 years though, through various staffing changes and renovations, Yasmina has been his source of comfort, joy and nourishment that has never wavered (apart from with its tendency to randomly close with no adherence to online opening hours).
It has an open, coal-filled grill and serves up massive portions of beautifully marinated and succulent shish taouk, half chicken, sea bass and kebab with a plentiful portion of chips or rice for no more than £15. There’s freshly made bread (which is not actually the norm at Lebanese restaurants in London) to accompany the array of starters which are executed perfectly. My favourites are the moutabal and raheb salad, which feature beautiful smoky aubergine, the sort that can only come from an open flame on a proper grill. And then there’s the warak enab. Again, I am on a never-ending quest to find the best warak enab/Yalanji that takes me back to my days living in Amman, where the dish would slap you in the face with tanginess. Not only is this very difficult to find in London, upsettingly, many restaurants serve up the canned, ready-made, bastardised version. Close inspection of the Yasmina offering, with its imperfections and lopsided shaping, told me that these at least are made in-house. The first bite confirmed it: it felt like it had come straight from a discerning teta’s kitchen and had me reaching for the water – success! Zayneb Al Asaadi
18 Western Ave, W3 7TZ