We have been meaning to visit Meza in Tooting for ages and, finding ourselves at a loose end last Saturday, we decided to book a table and go for it.
Meza has 2 restaurants and we were booked in, for a table of 3, at the branch on Mitcham Road (a couple of minutes up from Tooting Broadway station). It is small and compact with seating for about 30 people. When we arrived, at 7pm, it was busy and there were only a couple of free tables available. Luckily, we had booked in advance and this seemed to be the case with most of the customers who arrived after us. Advice: book a table in advance!
We browsed the menu and decided on a selection of meze to share for starters and then a main each. The menu included brief descriptions of the dishes but left a bit to the imagination.
From the meze selection we chose the sautéed prawns cooked in tomato sauce with vegetable rice, the batata harra (potatoes, garlic and coriander) the moussaka bantenjen (aubergine, chickpeas and tomato) and the jawaneh (chicken wings served in a garlic sauce). These arrived in the style of tapas and smelt really good. The potatoes were well cooked and had a sort of sauce on them. They went really well with the other dishes which were a lot saucier. The prawns, although small, were nice and juicy and the sauce they came in was flavoursome. Sadly, it tasted very similar to the sauce for the aubergine which arrived at the same time as our main dishes. The flatbread was nice although only just warm.
The aubergine was a little disappointing as there wasn’t a great deal of it that was distinguishable from anything else in the dish.
For mains we had each selected one of the meat dishes: kafta meshweih (skewers of minced lamb with parsley and onion); lahem meshweih (skewers of lamb cubes) and shish taouk (grilled skewers of marinated chicken). All of the main dishes were well cooked and came with a side salad. The chicken was succulent and the flavour of the grill gave it a nice smokey taste. The cubed lamb was nice but not the nicest we’ve had, lacking a little in flavour.
The minced lamb again was nice, but the flavour wasn’t as good as I was expecting, and a little more parsley may have helped.
We also chose a portion of vegetable rice to accompany the mains. This served its purpose to add some depth to the main but it was just a basic vegetable rice.
By the end of the meal we were all full. This was our first experience of Lebanese cuisine, although the flavours and style of food can broadly be described as regional Middle Eastern cuisine as it shares a lot of similarities with Syrian food and the surrounding geographical area, and we enjoyed what we ate and the fact that the dishes felt reasonably familiar to us. The service was functional and lacked some of the personal charm of other restaurants in Tooting, but that is a minor point.
If you’ve not been, we’d suggest you book a table and decide for yourself.