St John’s Wood is a lovely area. It is the last bit of City of Westminster before it falls under Camden council. In fact as you walk north up Abbey Road, as soon as you happen upon the sign telling you that you are leaving Westminster, the grim tower blocks and social housing replace the mansions and period buildings. The affluent residents get to enjoy nearby Regent’s Park, a spot of cricket at Lord’s Cricket Ground and if you have the talent, the recording facilities of the infamous Abbey Road Studios.
The area is mainly residential with little clusters of salons, retail and restaurants. An older crowd with money and family dominate the area and with it’s own resident American school, there are also wealthy expats settlers. One of these clusters on Blenheim Terrace is home to Yasmeen.
An attractive Lebanese restaurant with a conservatory and al fresco terrace. This space is contemporary but with elements of middle Eastern wonders. The décor is not too overpowering instead settling for warm and muted colours, clean lines and a minimalistic approach. There is nothing tacky about this place, it has the right amount of traditional meets west.
Within the restaurant there is a cute little bar and the facilities are rather posh with little hand towels over paper ones. It must run up a bit of a laundry bill, but this is one of the many touches that makes this place special.
You are greeted by an upbeat team who genuinely seem happy to have you there. Once seated you are given an impressive menu made of the sturdy stuff, with etchings of their logo and an interesting ‘who we are’ intro on the inside cover. Past that there is a selection of Lebanese classics with helpful English descriptions. If you have been to a Lebanese restaurant before, you will recognise a few of the dishes. We had the option of selecting our dishes or taking a leap of faith for the house to choose. We opted for the latter as this type of food is best enjoyed with the direction of those who know it best. Good call! An array of starters arrived which included the most orgasmic puree of smoked aubergine. There was also freshly made flat bread to mop of creamy hummus. Vine leaves, grilled halloumi, borak potato and kibbeh (crushed wheat with minced meat) were some of the other dishes to start out dining journey.
For our main courses there was the obligatory mixed grill taking advantage of their charcoal grill. Chicken, lamb, minced lamb and jumbo king prawns complimented with yellow rice. All of the meat had that lovely charcoal aroma, were tender and tasty. I must give the prawns a special mention as these were the biggest I had ever seen. I am talking mutant prawns. I love prawns so I was happy to devour this white meat.
Lebanese wine is not something I have tried before, but the recommended bottle was dry and crisp, very tasty. Dessert is really not my thing. It is a very rare occasion where I would order it, let alone enjoy it. It was good in respect of my limited experience. What completed the experience was the two gentlemen working the room, talking to guests, demonstrating impeccable service. Whilst St John’s Wood may be a little out of the way for me, I would highly recommend it to anyone beyond a stone’s throw away. Yasmeen is the perfect location for a family outing, to bring your parents or that special occasion to be spoilt.
1 Blenheim Terrace
St Johns Wood
London NW8 0EH
T. 020 7624 2921