Layla, Wimbledon Village

4.0 stars based on 18 reviews

Two weeks back, my husband and I trekked to the other end of London to dine in trendy Wimbledon Village. I don’t tend to go South of the river very often but the promise of Lebanese food at Layla was enough to tempt me to make the hour and a half journey.

As we set foot inside the restaurant we were amazed with the look and feel of the place. The decor at Layla quickly transports you to the enchanted world of the Arabian nights, with its exquisite chandeliers, draped ceilings and its intricate wooden frames. We quickly forgot we were in cold, wet London and left our troubles at home.

Layla Lebanese Restaurant Wimbledon-3

Decor at Layla

Decor at Layla

Decor at Layla

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly waitress who showed us to our table and gave us our menus. After the long journey to Wimbledon, we were both parched and went straight for the wine list. We were both impressed with the large selection of wines available, including a fruity red from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley that was offered by the glass and by the bottle. Seeing as we were in a Lebanese restaurant, it was only right that we ordered this. And we were very glad that we did. It was delicious. My husband and I spent the rest of the night telling each other how good the wine tasted with every sip.

Menu

Menu

The menu at Layla is very similar to that found in other Lebanese restaurants in London, including a number of my favourite dishes, such as jawaneh (spicy chicken wings in a garlic and coriander sauce) and sambousek (pastries filled with mince meat). Since we were here to carry out a review, we settled on a mixed mezze platter and some sujuk, spicy Lebanese sausage. We didn’t have to wait long for the food to arrive, which was beautifully presented. The platter contained a good selection of hot and cold dishes, including cheese bourek (crispy filo fingers filled with cheese), kibbeh (cracked wheat filled with minced lamb and pine nuts), falafel (broadbean and chickpea croquettes), as well as a selection of dips and tabbouleh salad. The platter also came with a basket of traditional Lebanese bread. It was all delicious, including the falafel, which I am not normally a fan of. We both really enjoyed the sujuk too, especially the addition of fried onions and peppers. A great start to our experience at Layla.

Hot and Cold Mezze Platter

Hot and Cold Mezze Platter

Sujok - Spicy Lebanese Sausage

Sujok – Spicy Lebanese Sausage

For our mains, my husband ordered the lamb shank, while I chose their chicken shawarma. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t very happy with the chicken dish. I was expecting tender chicken pieces cooked slowly on the rotisserie but instead found the chicken to be tough. My husband’s lamb shank, however, was amazing. Really succulent, melt in your mouth lamb that was falling off the bone. The dish came with vegetables and a scrumptious serving of Lebanese spiced rice with vermicelli.

Half way through our meal, the lights dimmed, the music went on and we were treated to a wonderful performance by a belly dancer. It was a fun atmosphere, which got all the diners conversing with one another, with some even joining in with the dancing.

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

Succulent Lamb Shank

Succulent Lamb Shank

For dessert, we ordered walnut atayef, Lebanese pancakes that were stuffed with walnuts and drenched in syrup. The pancakes came with a side of clotted cream known as ashta. I have never tried these pancakes before and at first glance I began to worry that they would be too sweet. I was wrong, they were in fact some of the tastiest pancakes I have tried. Crunchy on the outside, with a soft nutty flavour inside that went perfectly well with the pillowy cream. We also tried their karabeej halabi, a shortcrust pastry filled with pistachio and served with a slightly sweetened meringue cream. We were very impressed with both desserts.

Walnut Altayef

Walnut Altayef

Karabeej Halabi

Karabeej Halabi

All in all, my husband and I had a really good evening at Layla. The restaurant is perfect for both couples and groups seeking good food and entertainment. All the waiters are attentive and friendly and the decor is chic. Layla also has a lounge bar at the front of the restaurant for anyone looking to pop in for drinks and enjoy the live music on offer. The lounge even has its own menu with a selection of hot and cold appetisers and wraps. We will definitely be returning with a group of friends so that I can sit in one of their booths!

Bar

Bar

Disclaimer: My husband and I were offered a free meal at the restaurant, with two glasses of wine. However we were under no obligation to provide a positive review in return. All the opinions on this post are my own. 

 

 

 

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18 Comments

  • Posted March 8, 2014

    Nayna Kanabar

    Sounds like a lovely place I wonder if they offer many vegetarian dishes?

    • Posted March 8, 2014

      Tina Anand

      Thank you Nayna. Yes, there is a good selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes on offer, including a delicious sounding moussaka. In fact, our mixed mezze platter was predominantly vegetarian. I’m sure the restaurant would be happy to swap the kibbeh for something else.

  • Posted March 8, 2014

    manjirichitnis

    Hey Tina u were in my part of the world! we must do a dinner some day tog in W village! Layla has been on my list of to visit places! lovely reviews and photos!

  • Posted March 8, 2014

    Sylvia

    Lovely review Tina! I’m a big fan of lebanese cuisine, it’s so full of flavours. I sometimes miss London for it’s restaurants :(

  • Posted March 8, 2014

    cheri

    What a beautiful place and the food looks amazing!

  • Posted March 8, 2014

    London-Unattached.com

    It looks as if you had a wonderful evening. Not so far from me…

  • Posted March 8, 2014

    Heidi Roberts

    I love Lebanese cuisine and this looks like you had a really delicious meal.

  • Posted March 9, 2014

    Janice @FarmersgirlCook

    That sounds good, hope the delicious wine made up for the tough chicken! We are having Lamb Shanks tonight, looking forward to them even more now!

  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry

    Grew up with and love Lebanese food. Nothing beats a sharwarma. Layla sounds really fab and I would love to check it out.

  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    The food here looks wonderful – apart from changing trains twice to visit Hampton Court both in 1996 and 2013, I am ashamed to say I have NEVER been to Wimbledon in my 22 years living in London but I hear it’s rather lovely!

  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Karen Burns Booth

    What a wonderful looking place and your photos have done it justice too! My daughter’s friend lives in Wimbledon, so I must pass this on to her as a recommendation.

  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    The mezze looks delicious. This is my favourite kind of food.

  • Posted March 10, 2014

    HedgeComber

    What a great place, I’ve never eaten at a Lebonese restaurant before, but the food looks delish.
    Janie x

  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Choclette

    Now that sounds like my idea of heaven (assuming there is a veggie version). I adore Middle Eastern food, but have never been to specific Lebanese restaurant.

  • Posted March 11, 2014

    Morgan @ Peaches, Please!

    Your pictures look great! I always have such a difficult time taking pictures in restaurants because there’s so little light.

  • Posted March 14, 2014

    May

    I was there recently too and had a really good meal. The belly dancing was a welcome surprise.

  • Posted March 15, 2014

    LondonKiwiEmma

    Sounds delicious, one to go on the must try list!

  • Posted March 17, 2014

    Fuss Free Helen

    I love Wimbledon Village – it is a lovely proper village in London. I have friends there and this post has reminded me that I have not seen them for ages!

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