Lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to develop new interests and hobbies. I for one came to harbour a passion for Lebanese food through my frequent trips to the Lebanese takeaway in my local area for some quick bites. Famous for its hearty portions and use of fresh ingredients, Lebanese food is ranked among the world’s top healthiest cuisines by Health Line due to its use of olive oil, hummus and tabbouleh that contain good fats for lowering disease risks.
Massis is a Lebanese restaurant situated in Sheldon Square near Paddington Central right by the canal, and easily accessible via the Hammersmith and City line or the Circle line. The open plan of the layout with French doors is ideal for outdoor and indoor dining, especially on sunny days when the doors are opened up to accommodate guests on the front terrace. After 12 years of serving hungry Londoners, Massis has emerged out of lockdown with revamped interiors that combine the bold colours of traditional prints with modern furniture, along with a very tempting bar in the central area. But that is not the only change – apart from classic Lebanese dishes such as falafel and tzatziki, newly devised dishes have emerged such as the Tempura Fried Calamari and Seabass Chunks which are excellent for a mezze.
The Tempura Fried Calamari is, as its name suggests, fried in tempura batter. A common problem with fried calamari is that it can have a rubbery texture even after frying, yet Massis does it justice as the calamari has a softness inside its crunchy exterior. Dip it into their homemade tartare sauce, and you have a starter dish perfect for sharing. There are also viable options on the menu for vegans and vegetarians. The Tabouleh is a good dish to have – the fresh zinginess of the tomato and parsley excites one’s taste buds, not to mention the Mousakaa, a smoked aubergine purée cooked with tomatoes, onions and chickpeas which is delicious with some warm pitta bread or rice.
Apart from the mezze dishes, the restaurant’s grill menu is also worth checking out, especially for the meat lovers. The Lahem Meshwi, which is chargrilled cubes of marinated lamb dipped in tahini sauce, fuses the rustic flavours of the lamb with the sesame in the sauce that explodes in your mouth. Have it with a glass of Spanish red wine, which is just one of the many options on the restaurant’s extensive drinks menu.
For those who prefer chicken, the Shish Taouk as a chargrilled chicken dish has the smoky quality similar to the Lahem Meshwi, but savoury in a more buoyant way. It is best enjoyed with the creamy homemade slaw on the side as well as with some French fries.
It’s not just the food that makes Massis appealing, but also the fact that the food is value for money. Through the warm welcome given by staff and the passion shown in their food, it is no wonder why the restaurant is still going strong after 12 years in the business. Whether it’s a lighthearted lunch with your colleagues, or a big celebratory dinner party with your closest friends and family, you’re guaranteed a good time at Massis.
Words by Kesh Wang
Massis Lebanese Grill & Bar – 9 Sheldon Square, London W2 6HY, United Kingdom | @massislebanese
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