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“I've seen the light! Firmly converted to Lebanese cuisine!!.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Al Souk

Al Souk
36 Woodford Ave | Gants Hill, Ilford IG2 6XQ, England
0203 643 5173
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Ranked #74 of 141 Restaurants in Ilford
Cuisines: Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Grill, Family Fare, Halal
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Delivery, Late Night
Description: Al Souk Merges Glamorous and Plush Surroundings with the Finest Ingredients & Traditional Authentic Lebanese Cuisine at the Heart of Gants Hill.xXxDescription: An Authentic Lebanese Charcoal Grill Restaurant/Fine Dining Restaurant/Family Restaurant/Grill Restaurant/HMC Certified Restaurant.xXxOpen: Everyday 12pm till 11pm.xXxAl Souk is putting the 'East' back in 'Middle Eastern' with its Traditional Authentic Lebanese Cuisine. Its wholesome, organic, home-made Lebanese dishes prepared by one of the Top Lebanese Master Head Chefs in Central London. We excel in our Family Friendly Service and take you back to a true Lebanese Dining Experience.We pride ourselves in in sourcing only the very best Organic Ingredients and Using Traditional Cooking Methods passed down over the centuries, traceable back to biblical times. Providing a Modern dining experience that is commonly found in Middle Eastern Homes around the world.We incorporate the modern palate into designing our menu so that everyone is able enjoy the Lebanese Charcoal Grill Delights. So whether you fancy a freshly prepared lunch, the finest dinner or just a Mint Tea. Join us in a biblical experience, transporting you from the East to the Middle East!!!xXxGreat Venue for your Office Part & Private Function, Min 40 person up to 60 Persons. Drop In or Contact Us for Further Inquiries.xXxWalk-In Welcome and Bookings Available For Dining 5.30, 7.30 & 9.30xXxPlease Note, Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Admission.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“I've seen the light! Firmly converted to Lebanese cuisine!!.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

Having frequently dined in Lebanese restaurants (not out of choice) particularly in Central London entertaining clients, I have never been a fan of this type of cuisine. Considering most of these restaurants are located in popular Arabic areas such as Edgware Road I was pretty sure I had sampled relatively authentic Lebanese food and concluded it simply wasn't “my cup of tea”. My visit to Al Souk was purely by chance whilst visiting friends in the area.

As an interior designer for a luxury international design house in London I was initially drawn by the restaurants façade and choice of lighting. Warm earthy colours brought to life with striking pink lighting in a theme of Arabic luxury and decadence and outdoor plants completing the look of a stylish Arabic desert oasis. Clearly impressed by this stage I ventured inside for a closer look and was greeted with a smile, an Arabic greeting and welcome soon followed. The interior had a very warm cosy feel, particular on a cold winters evening, with inviting upholstered seating, themed lighting and middle eastern geometric designs completing the look and creating a delightful ambience. After taking a look at the menu and taken in by the charm of the ever smiling front of house host, I asked for a table.

Once at the table, I was introduced to the waiter “Andy” who made sure I was comfortable with typical middle eastern mannerism and hospitality. He attempted to allay my fears of past experiences of Lebanese cuisine and although he was very convincing I was sure “I had heard it all before”. I was taken through the contents of the menu with a brief description of how dishes were prepared, cooked and served. I finally decided on a Mixed Mezze Platter for starters, a Laham Meshwi for my main, which all arrived promptly. The mixed mezze was a combination of salads, hommous, lamb meat balls, falafel croquets and sautéed potato cubes very well presented on platters.

I was extremely surprised with the freshness, taste and punchy flavour of all the items on the mixed mezze, as I had previously found this type of food to be very bland, lacking in flavour and taste, which I simply put down to the style of cooking and the use of herbs and spices from this part of the world. True to form, the Laham Meshwi and Lebanese rice, followed suite with the melt in your mouth lamb cubes consistently cooked throughout with a rich deep flavour complemented with perfectly executed soft white rice. I was truly left with a smile on my face, well at least in-between the times I wasn't busy licking my fingers. I had been shown the light!!! My conversion to Lebanese cuisine (Al-Souk) was complete!!.

As a fussy customer who visits restaurants frequently, these moments of delight are rare occurrences, which makes them even more satisfying. Finally, whilst in my own little cocoon of delight, I was awaken by the sound of the Al-Souk choir in full swing. The restaurant briefly turned from a calm oasis to a crazy theatre of joy with all staff members downing tools, singing “Happy Birthday” whilst clapping and dancing their way to present a cake to the surprised but very excited birthday girl. A brief moment of madness but very well done and certainly enough to add to the great atmosphere.

Thank you Al-Souk, a job very well done and clearly a very satisfied customer!!

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    34
    15
    9
    10
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing food beautiful décor-best place to eat locally”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2013 via mobile

The food was prepared freshly in front of me which is lovely, in the meantime I enjoyed a lovely cocktail and some starters.
The mixed mezze was delicious it was the perfect amount for two people to share.
My main course was a mixed grill cooked to perfection.
The grill was lightly seasoned just as I had asked and well done.
Due to such large portion sizes I was unable to have a desert but my husband ordered the cheesecake which he said was wonderful.
Will be going back in fact I am trying to convince my team at work that lebanese food is suitable for a Christmas party!

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Amazing Ambience and FOOD”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2013

I have been to this restaurant twice, and will definitely be going again. The food was of good quality and taste. We had fatoush salad, falafel, and schwarmas I will definitely recommend these dishes. The strawberry mocktail completed the meal along with Oreo cheesecake and mint tea. The staff were welcoming and the restaurant is beautifully lit with its amazing decor.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Mind blowing Lebanese cuisine”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2013

A fantastic place for all ages to indulge in Lebanese cuisine. As soon as you walk in you are greeted with smiles from the staff. The food was amazing and you can tell that they use the best of ingredients. I loved it so much that I've been back regularly. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Excellent Meal and Decor”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2013

As a big fan of middle eastern food, really enjoyed food here and the atmosphere and service was great too. Had a wide variety of dishes and loved it, hopefully go back there again soon.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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