If you cannot imagine yourself in a side street in the Middle East - complete with vibrant music and men in traditional Pashtuni costume
- a visit to Yalla Yalla, the Middle Eastern street food restaurant at Radisson Hotel GRT, will help.
The intrigue of the dimly lit ambience is cleared by the warm welcome accorded by Prabhakaran. The Chef de Partie is patient with his
explanation of the ingredients in the mind-boggling variety offered as mezzeh - the cold starters that are served as part of a typical
Middle Eastern meal.
The fried lamb cutlet served as a starter was delicately spiced, moist and perfectly toothsome. The shawarma was incredibly fresh and
light. The greasiness that is normally associated with it was thankfully missing.
The vegetarian mezzeh included a combination of tabouleh, falafel, babaganoush, hummus, labneh and mixed pickles served with warm
The dips, which smacked of the inimitible tahini flavour, were fresh and enhanced the flavours of the mezzeh. However, the chilli
sauce that was served with the chicken wrap was exceptionally harsh and tasted quite raw.
The chicken and the fish wraps were delicious, but a little messy to eat because they were served individually. The chicken tasted quite like the Indian kebab, but the fish was more exotic.
The lamb wrap, on the other hand, was perfect. It came as a wrap and the taste was sharp, a little gamey, yet light and fresh.
The ground chickpea falafel in the wrap was true to its reputation - crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The halloumi
pita wrap had a stuffing of fresh, tangy, chewy cheese and pickled vegetables.
The meal ended with the exotic baklava - baked layers of almonds, walnuts and honey that melted in the mouth.
The polished shishas lent a magical appeal to this fair-weather restaurant. The flavours of double apple, strawberry and mint waft
through the air even before the hookah is presented. And a deft demonstration of its use helps beginners puff away like experts.
A meal at Yalla Yalla can cost around Rs 1,200 for two.