Review of 'Shawa Haymarket'

A bit of a surprise, really, we found this latest outlet in the Shawa chain on Haymarket one Friday night when, frankly, every other restaurant in the area was busy. It was a good choice.

The clean, bright interior reveals a tasteful decor with shelves of provisions - jars of preserved vegetables, tins, and dried peppers - along the walls which actually seem to be used. This is basically an up-market takeaway with seat yourself tables and a counter to your right as you enter where you order and pay (though they do bring the food to your table). Indeed, they also offer a takeaway service. The menu is quite small specializing, as you might expect, in Shawarma - spit cooked meats seen typically in vertical cylinders rotating in front of a heat element cooking in their juices. They offer both wraps (about £5) and platters (about £12) with the later served as a meal on a plate alongside an assortment of salads. There is also an enticing option of rotisserie roasted chicken in quarters, halves or whole options along with an assortment of specials including sides - The whole chickens looked wonderfully juicy in their cooking hood behind the counter. Note that there is also a vegetarian option of a mezze platter as well as a falafel wrap.

Helpfully, when ordering we were told that even just getting a drink and a wrap each it was cheaper to go for their meal special which was £7.95 that included a wrap, any side dish and any drink. I had the lamb Shawarma wrap (“sliced marinated lamb shoulder served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickled turnip with tahina sauce”, individually £5.45) which was a bit dry and not a lot of meat but still very tasty. My companion had the chicken Shawarma wrap (“sliced marinated chicken served with pickled cucumber, tomato, lettuce and garlic sauce”, individually £5.45) which was a lot juicier and full of flavour. For our sides we had fries (£2.25 individually) and “hommos” (£4.25 individually) - The later was a bit bland and the fries were…well…fries served with a bit of a spicy topping (though it added little flavour) but they were very fresh.

I had a “fresh mint tea” (£1.95 individually) which was, oddly, a normal (English) tea served with some sprigs of mint.

The staff were very friendly and helpful. The food was good and quite good value. A very pleasant interior and certainly a cut above the normal takeaways in the area. Definitely worth a visit.

Rating:

Review Date: 2016-11-25


Cuisine: Lebanese

Address: St Albans House 57 - 60 Haymarket, London, SW1Y4QX

Public Transport: TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Covent Garden

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