Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Yalla Yalla - Shoreditch

186 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6HU

In Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Lee Van Cleef sits in "the old Hacienda" shovelling down some indeterminable stew from a clay plate. Using only his right hand - his left free for the inevitable gunslinging - this is the next step up from pretty cool eating; which is, presumably, über-cool eating.

The closest I had ever come to achieving this pinnacle of cool was eating an open burrito from a tray at Benito's Hat in Kings Cross Station. However, the constant announcements about trains to Peterborough just killed the atmosphere.

Rolling our horses in to Shoreditch on a Saturday evening, and having made the wise decision to side-step Urban Food Fest prior to the largest deluge this year, we pitched in to Yalla Yalla. Here, as the rain hammered against the corrugated iron of this trendy lean-to opposite The White Horse, I sat on a wooden bench, eating from a small platter, right-hand clutching a plastic fork, left-hand ready for some gun-fighting-action, or rather holding a Almaza (4.0%).

Thank you Yalla Yalla! This was the atmosphere I'd always wished for. And although a cuisine separated by some 3,000 miles of ocean from Mexico, the Beirut street food this insanely yellow-fascinated street-stall dishes up was spot on. In order to sample as much as possible, I opted for a Street Platter: a mix of chicken, pitta, tabboule, hummus, and some form of samboussek. Mashing it all together with a plastic fork gave a perfect mix of succulent meat, moist salad, and tangy tangy cheese. Washed down with a cold but slightly gassy beer, if Angel Eyes were alive today he'd be hunting for his gold here.

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