I visited Kababji Wimbledon as they open their doors as the first location in the UK arriving from their legendary restaurants in Beirut and Dubai.
In heart of Wimbledon, opposite the New Wimbledon Theatre, is the newest restaurant to the Wimbledon foodie scene. I think it’s safe to say that Wimbledon loves it’s food so any new restaurant in the area gets a lot of attention. This new venture is one unlike anything else in the town centre and will no doubt be a popular place to eat with locals.
Originating in the Lebanon in 1993, Kababji now boasts 16 restaurants through the Lebanon and Dubai. The popularity of this foodie institution is only set to go rise with a new fan base since its arrival in the U.K.
Unlike to the Beirut restaurants, Kababji Wimbledon has a more stream lined menu and style of service. This makes it easy to order the best they have to offer. Plus you will find the prices are good for the size of the meal, the quality and of course the authentic flavours.
A kebab place is definitely not how I would describe Kababji. It is so much more than the general perception of that a kebab restaurant would be. The meat, the flavours, the sides and sauces have all been so carefully selected and refined through tireless trials.
First of all I have to mention how beautiful and relaxing the interiors are. The large urns filled with tumbling greenery hang from above the windows, the grill is out for everyone to watch and there are fresh ingredients on the counter making you hungry as you order. It’s a relaxing space full of light and a great space for meeting friends for a meal. The staff are so friendly and really know their menu so ask if you have any questions.
Their wrap, drink and side deal for £6.50 is a great way to be introduced to the food but I’d recommend exploring the Beruit box. From exploring the menu I would say it is the best thing to order to explore the flavours Kababji has to offer. The Beirut box is made up of skewer and is served on a bed of turmeric rice served with fresh salad and their iconic hummus. Also included is a range of their pickles and flat bread to enjoy. This large plate is only £7.50 and is a generous portion.
What I love is that the food looks beautiful and tastes incredible.
Unwrapping the flavours of Beirut.
Talking to the General Manager Hylton about the dishes on offer, it is clear to see how much passion he has for the food. As he discussed how the food was prepared, it is evident how labour intensive this food served at Kababji is. Just hearing about the preparation was enough to make your mouth water.
The hummus, like everything else Kababji serve, is made in store over days of soaking the chickpeas, blending them, adding their secret spice blend before it’s ready for the public.
I loved hearing how the aubergines were prepared for the Moutabal side dish. It also turned out to the favourite side of the evening. (And we tried them all. It was also worth saying that all the sides were delicious). The Moutabal is freshly grilled aubergines which have been lightly mashed, mixed with the secret tahini mix, extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pomegranate seed garnish. Served with Khobez flatbread.
To make this exquisite side dish the aubergines are grilled until blackened and the skins removed when still hot. They are then left to release excess water and then mixed with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice and fresh pomegranate seeds are then mixed in. It is so creamy, smokey and unlike any dips I have ever had before. It was just too easy to eat with the flat bread. Actually you don’t even need the flatbread eating it off a spoon will do.
As part of the dinner we were treated to a large plate with mix of skewers (plain, spicy and chicken) on a bed of turmeric rice. Along side we enjoyed a range of the different sides. Including the incredibly super smooth hummus, freshly blended chickpeas, their secret tahini mix, extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Served with Kababji crisps.
The flavour of each skewer was different and worked with range of sides and sauces resulting in distinctive tastes. For example I found the spicy skewer with garlic dip was an incredible collaboration of flavours. However the chicken and the roasted red pepper sauce had a delicious unison of flavours. Above all, it is clear to see the menu has been created in a most passionate way. So that no matter what you choose to have with what there is an alliance of tastes. Demonstrating the love and care taken with the food.
A few extras worth mentioning at Kababji Wimbledon
The Quinoa Tabboule was created by finely chopping parsley mixed together with quinoa, tomato, extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It was rich and fresh and I found it far too easy to eat.
Their incredible iconic falafel is made form fried chickpeas and fava beans paste mixed with herbs and spices, served with their tahini Tarator sauce.
After that I tried the fattouch which is a salad of mixed lettuce, cucumber, mint, tomato and rocket, topped with crispy bread and sumac and pomegranate vinaigrette.
One of the most popular dishes of the evening and one I’m already counting down to enjoy again was the cheese rakakat. Deep fried crispy Lebanese cheese rolls made with halloumi and feta. There was even a fight over the last one and therefore it’s the first thing I’m ordering when I visit again.
Make sure you try a few of the sauces to enjoy with it. I think it’s safe to say the garlic one was the most popular for us. It is strong and has a lovely deep earthy flavour which works so well with the kebabs.
Not forgetting the drinks
Along with the food, Kababji freshly prepare juices. This includes a watermelon juice which is made in store every day. I loved it. It also has ginger and mint mixed in resulting in a flavour is so light and thirsty quenching. Perfect for warm summer days I think.
There was also a date juice, stay with me it sounds weird but trust me it works. It was poured on to crushed ice and had a rich but light flavour. I loved the smell of the added rosewater as filled my nose and left a fresh floral and fruity sensation on my taste buds. Of course there is also a selection of Lebanese beers and some French wines to accompany the meal.
From my experience of enjoying the food at Kababji Wimbledon, and finding out about the care and consideration that went in to each dish makes. It is clear that they create a fast food meal that takes days to prepare. I can’t wait to visit again! It is now my go-to restaurant for a flavoursome meal. Made with fresh ingredients and above all passion.
Visit Kababji in Wimbledon at 80 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1RH
Bring on the bloggers
Wimbledon and the surrounding areas boasts such a great community of foodies. It was my pleasure to round up a few of them to join me at Kababji for a bloggers meal. None of us had tried the food before so when we all met up on a gorgeous spring evening we were all very excited.
It was a great way to meet other bloggers and try a new dining experience at the same time. We were all so interested in how the food was created and how the menu was refined to what is available in store. We all asked lots of questions and there were only empty plates left at the end of the meal.
What was so lovely was that as a group of food loving bloggers we love talking about food. So we talked about every flavour and seasoning, how each dish was made, where the spices came from and how it was assembled in store.
As we ate we discovered new flavours and were united in agreeing there is nothing locally that comes close to this style of food.
#AD. Disclaimer I was gifted the bloggers meal. All opinions are my own.