As with Dello’s, the menu is an unusual blend of styles. Where previously there was Portuguese influence, now the dishes are mainly Middle Eastern, but with a curious peppering of other things, like burgers and fish ‘n’ chips. Spaghetti bolognese was their pasta of the day, today. I guess it’s a symptom of their tourist trail location, but it felt like an odd mix.
This was continued in the first dish I tried, with good smoky baba ghanoush served with something akin to focaccia (update – turns out it was freshly baked Iraqi samoon bread, made on the premises, each day). Sometimes these fusions work, but not really in this case, as a flatbread would have been far better for scooping the tasty aubergine goodness.
In the pause between courses, I took a moment to take in the freshly refitted surroundings, which are very smart indeed, with wood and olive tones to the fore.
The main course, a falafel wrap, was on much more solid ground. Accompanied with a simple salad and garlic, chilli and hummus dips, the wrap was generously filled. The wrap casing was a little too thick, but this was otherwise a very good dish.
I rounded things out with a bad restaurant espresso, so that’s an area that could use immediate improvement. Service could be throttled back just a notch, too, as while it was constantly friendly and speedy, there was just a little too much hovering. These are relatively minor quibbles, though, which are common to new places.
So overall, I liked my visit to Laila’s. Their dishes need a little refinement, but are very much on the right track. Their soup is provided by Union of Genius, so that’s always going to be a winnner with me. I’ll be back to try more of their menu, in 2014.
Blythe scores Laila’s
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
I ate: baba ghanoush; falafel wrap
I drank: water, espresso
I wore: hot pink shirt
Total bill: £12