- (01865) 242494
- 1 Broad Street (map of this place)
- OX1 3AH
Art, 30 May 2012
Du Liban closed a few years ago, though their website mysteriously describes it as "currently closed."
Kake, 18 May 2000
This recently opened above Boswell's in [Broad Street]?, where the Travel Cafe (and Soprano for those who remember back that far) used to be. It's absolute heaven for vegans - just choose around 3 starters each to share, or leave it all up to the chef. It seems to be run by the same people as Al-Shami, but is aimed at a younger, livelier crowd. The evening I was there, there was a bellydancer who encouraged people around the room to get up and dance with her (yes, I did). There's also a corner with low benches and hubbly-bubbly pipes for an after-dinner smoke of fruit-flavoured tobacco.
The food choices are similar to Al-Shami - dishes I remember include stuffed vine leaves; lentils with fried onions; mixed beans with lemon and olive oil; lemon-spinach pastries; sour, walnut-stuffed baby aubergines; and chargrilled vegetables with tahini sauce - but instead of a plate of whole vegetables and a blunt knife, you're greeted on arrival with neatly-cut crudites and a couple of (vegan) dips - a chilli tomato one and a smooth, incredibly white concoction of olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of garlic. I also loved the sweetened, cardamom-scented Lebanese coffee served after the meal.
I paid £15 for 1/3 share in 2 bottles of wine, 1/5 share in a hubbly bubbly and plenty of delicious food. Be warned that while the belly-dancer is performing, the music is often turned up too loud for conversation, and in the past the staff have proved reluctant to turn the music down between sets. However, you can find out which nights she will be in by telephoning in advance, if you're more interested in talking to your guests than shouting at them.