Tooting’s seen a few Lebanese restaurants crop up over the last few years, and Chez Vous on Mitcham Road remains a favourite. Is it the food? The atmosphere? The staff? We found it was all that and more.
We were glad that we booked, as the restaurant was buzzing on a Friday night. Couples, families and at least two birthday parties filled the restaurant. Fantastic smells emanated from the kitchen and the staff gave us a huge smile as we walked in.
Abbas, our waiter, gave us menus and stylishly poured us some Beirut Beers while we pored over the choices on offer. What to get? In the end, we asked Abbas to select for us – we were glad we did.
Soon our table was laden with food. First came cold mezze – Hummus, Moutabal Baba Ghanouj (aubergine puree with pomegranate seeds) and Tabouleh (parsley salad with tomato, fresh mint, crushed wheat and lemon juice & olive oil dressing). This gave us a beautiful introduction to Lebanese flavours. The freshness and lightness of the Tabouleh set off the deep earthy flavours of the Hummus and aubergine puree.
Next came Batata Hara (potato with garlic, coriander, pepper, chilli and the chef’s special sauce – a closely guarded secret), Falafel (deep-fried chickpea and spice croquettes), Fatayer (spinach and pine nut filled pastries), Soujouk (chilli and garlic lamb sausages), Halloumi Meshwi (grilled Halloumi topped with mint) and Sautéed Prawns. Right, things were getting serious now. The dishes bombarded us (in a good way) with a dazzling array of flavours. We were halfway through when Ali, the head chef, came out to ask how the food was. He seemed delighted with our collective thumbs-up (our mouths being otherwise engaged).
Finally came a mixed grill of lamb and chicken, with rice and pickled vegetables on the side. Utterly delicious, the succulent meat grilled to perfection, with a lip-smacking smoky taste. Just managing to polish it off (it would’ve been rude not to!), we all sat back, groaning with blissful delight at an excellent meal!
Ali managed to escape the kitchen for two minutes to come and say hi. We asked him why he’s settled in Tooting.
“I love Tooting”, says Ali, “I’ve lived and worked here for years. This is my home, my community. Why would I want to be anywhere else?”
“I’m so happy to bring authentic Lebanese food to the area. These are recipes which I and my family grew up with in Lebanon, handed down over the generations, so it’s a pleasure to share these favourites with the people of Tooting.”
We’re glad he’s here too. Do yourself a favour and swing by if you haven’t already, and find out why Chez Vous is such a popular Tooting destination. We’ll definitely be back soon (especially as they’re about to introduce lamb and chicken shwarma to the menu)!
Chez Vous is located at 102 Mitcham Road, Tooting, SW17 9NG. Call them on 020 8617 0540 to book or order, or order online via Deliveroo or Just Eat. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.