Oh houmous. Or hummus. Or hommos. Or humus. I haven’t tried you a million times in every vaguely middle eastern restaurant and all the Quins hang-outs in West London (All-Bar-One, Pitcher & Piano, Slug & Lettuce). I don’t eat you at every opportunity already? Even though you nearly never have enough garlic in. I don’t serve you at my monthly mixers? (Where local community leaders are discreetly introduced to young college age girls who’ve lost their way and desperately need guidance for a very reasonable fee, first-come-first-served and no questions asked). Humus is like catnip to those guys. It’s basically the prawn cocktail of the 2000s.
And so it will come as no surprise that this is how it kicked off when myself, Mrs Del Monte, and her friend “The Hurricane”, or simply Hurricane, started off at Ali Baba, an Egyptian restaurant near Baker Street. We were starving, and hoovered the humous down. It’s tasty enough I suppose, but I must’ve had some amazing houmus at some point in the past so that I think all other hummus is going to be like that which is why I relentlessly order hommus at every opportunity. The tabbouleh was very nice though. With the help of Hurricane who is of Egyptian extraction, we failed to ingratiate ourselves with the elderly waitress who’d clearly just lost money on the horses, and went for the most Egyptian options on the menu: Bamia and Molokhia stews, with lamb and chicken respectively. Bamia is nice enough, but could have done with something extra to make it truly flavoursome. Maybe stock. I don’t eat enough Okra. The Molokhia was something else. A flavourless ectoplasm clinging to the chicken took a steely determination to try. Imagine being asked to imbibe a lot of camel snot, which I imagine might taste of something at least. The Molokhia let you appreciate the flavour of the chicken exclusively. Mrs Del Monte opted for the Kabsa which came with red rice and ate it until it hurt.
I then very bravely tried the Om Ali, a milky, nutty, dried fruity pudding. Imagine the bastard offspring of crème brûlée and bread and butter pudding, then imagine me gagging on it. Overall, I’d recommend the place. £60 for 3 people including service charge. They also do kebabs. No beer, even though it was invented in Egypt, but we enjoyed the lemon and mint juice which I can’t get enough of.
32 Ivor Place
Tel: 020 7723 7474