Leila (Moroccan, Lebanese) – Ealing, LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served
Located on the long stretch of Uxbridge Road is Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant Leila in Acton, West London.
Having been around for five years, this spacious 65-cover eatery is simply decorated, with traditional touches that include fez hats and embroidered cushions, plenty of fabric, as well as a large wooden barrel.
With two comfortable booths at the back, a raised wooden platform, and seating available outside, the place is about a minute walk from Ealing Common tube station, with free parking available after 6pm immediately outside.
The people behind Leila were also those behind Lebanese restaurant Karaam located down the road in Ealing Broadway.
Another point to note is that the menu peculiarly states that their service charge “may be applicable”, as opposed to discretionary.
While these mocktails aren’t available as part of the drinks menu, they can be readily ordered on request.
And of the three we tried, the sweet pineapple-based Pina Colada was probably the best, despite lacking in the creaminess one looks for in such a beverage.
The Strawberry Daiquiri wins over the Mojito, but only because the aftertaste of the former wasn’t as harsh. Hence, while the lemon in the Mojito was prominent, it had an acridity to it that wasn’t very pleasant. And the same was true of the Daiquiri, though not as intense.
The chilli flakes and paprika, while adding some heat and a hint of smokiness, also provided some colour.
Consistency-wise, however, we would have preferred the hummous to be slightly less runny than it was. A decent effort.
The smooth consistency of this Moutabal was superbly judged, in that it had just enough texture for one to enjoy, with the strong smokiness of the baked aubergine marrying well with the light tangy nature of the yoghurt.
It was the tenderness of these home-made lightly-spiced sausages that made this Sojok dish such a pleasure to eat, enhanced further by the tangy watery tomato sauce. Delicious!
The falafels themselves were fairly good. Encased within an ultra-crispy shell was a fairly fragrant and relatively moist mixture of ground chick peas and spices.
The sauce, however, was quite unappealing, and tasted of something resembling flour-paste!
It simply didn’t bring anything to the plate. We would have preferred a tahini sauce or something.
Dedicated readers of FtLion will understand our excitement at trying Leila’s version of this traditional Moroccan chicken pastilla.
Alas, and much to our anticipointment, this one failed to achieve that delicate balance of flavours that made Le Comptoir’s such a memorable one, and was packaged in a spiral pastry that was simply too dense for its own good.
This one also erred on the side of sweet, with the heavy-handed dusting of icing sugar used to decorate this combining with the cinnamon spice typically added to the filling therein. In addition, not only did we find the shredded chicken to be quite dry, but there was a sameness about this that we all agreed on. And while the menu did say this had roasted almonds in it, these were of the thin variety which simply didn’t add anything of worth.
On the positive side, this was a filling pastilla, particularly given its price.
Delightfully good wedges of potatoes sauteed in a glistening, almost caramelised glaze, whose gentle sweetness was offset by the aroma of the sesame seeds, and the smokiness of the soft pepper.
As with all good Fattoush, this comprised of a plethora of textures and fresh flavours defined by the crunchy peppers and tomatoes, and topped with plenty of pomegranates and crispy toasted Lebanese bread.
However, with the juices all having collected at the bottom, be sure to give this a quick toss to really get things going.
Now don’t tell us that if the lid to a tagine like the above was lifted before you, that you wouldn’t be utterly impressed.
And that was precisely our reaction when hit by the heat, the smoke and the aroma of this Tagine bil Lahme, or Tagine with Lamb Meat.
At this point, it’s worth noting that while all tagines are served with a side of couscous, we were told that some customers do opt for rice, particularly with this tagine.
Hence, we decided to give it a go and received a plate of nicely cooked Vermicelli Rice.
Nevertheless, despite the body of the curry base having a great consistency, the truth is that the entire thing was quite one-dimensional.
Not only did the few tiny prunes fail to impart any much needed sweetness to the dish to help offset the gentle spiciness of the curry, but the thin roasted almonds might as well as have not been there, and the caramelised onions were barely discernible.
This was definitely a case of style over substance. A pity really, since its texture and consistency were superb.
This Fish Tagine certainly wasn’t any less inviting than its meat counterpart after the lid was lifted to release a subtle waft of fishy goodness courtesy of the sea bass therein.
With this, we opted for the default couscous that comes with every tagine. And we’re glad we did too, because given this tagine’s watery broth, the couscous was perfect in absorbing all that sauce.
The sea bass itself was soft and flaky, and swimming in a rich tangy tomato base, with enough pepper to add a touch of heat. One of the best dishes had on the evening!
All grills are served with vermicelli rice or chips, as well as harissa and garlic sauce. Having already had the former, we went for the chips.
What to say of a thin, measly and compact kafta with a charred and crispy exterior?
Suffice it to say that while this Kafta Lahem didn’t make for an attractive picture, at least it had some taste to it, which is more than can be said of its accompaniments!
And what to say of a Taouk that’s bland, rather dry, with far too much charring for such small nuggets? Not much!
And again, these pieces of Lamb Meshwi were over done and not good at all.
Standard chips that were nicely executed with a crispy exterior and a soft fluffy interior.
This is definitely the pick of the desserts for us, revolving around a light and spongy pudding, and covered with a scrumptiously sweet and sticky toffee sauce.
Don’t bother with the icy strawberry ice cream. If you like them sweet, this is the one to get.
Another really good dessert, with a chocolate cake that was light and came out covered in plenty of rich, dark chocolate sauce, and topped with a decently smooth vanilla ice cream.
Let it brew before enjoying the freshness of the mint.
You won’t feel sleepy after this ultra-strong coffee. To be enjoyed with any of the sweet desserts mentioned above.
A well executed Choca Mocha which was smooth and milky, with a touch of the bitter coming through with each soothing sip.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED ACCESS
By and large, the dishes were decently made, with some being better than others. The mixed grill, however, left much to be desired.
Certainly worth a visit if you're in the area of Ealing Common. There aren't any other such restaurants in the area better than Leila.
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