Lala Brasserie W6
Tuesday October 27, 2012
Review by Tim Harrison
It's easy to forget that Hammersmith has some of the best people-watching perches in the capital. One is Lala, just across the road from the tube station, where you can sit and watch the ever-changing gyratory whirl. You calmly tuck into your hearty Mediterranean/Cypriot/Turkish food while everyone else scurries to and fro.
With everything cooked in full view, at an open kitchen at the back, there’s a sense of theatre to Lala, now very much its own place having shaken off memories of its old incarnation, Bar 38.
Lala has two interlocking ground-floor zones (there’s a colossal basement area too) – the lounge bar section, and the 80-seat restaurant.
By mixing and matching you can construct a light lunch or early-evening meal, a pleasant savoury afternoon meze graze including grilled halloumi cheese and flavoursome hummus, or settle in to pace yourself through dinner while marvelling at the number of emergency vehicles with flashing blue lights circulating round the one-way system.
The two-course set lunch is £13.90, and might include a main course of beef stifado; tender chunks of meat in a rich, reduced gravy and served with a mound of cous cous.
Other options include pan-fried grey mullet, roast chicken and slice lamb leg. Turkish Mediterranean cuisine is hearty and meat orientated, although the starters are light, often vegetarian and eminently shareable.
With 12 of the 14 main dish choices either meat or fish, there is a clear overall weighting towards carnivores. And the meat is excellent.
My dining partner and I shared the mixed grill platter (£32.50 for two), a monumental salute to meaty flavours, including lamb brochette (herb-infused cubes of meat) and a chicken skewer.
Also on the platter, grilled tiger prawns marinated in spicy lime, lamb adana (minced lamb grilled on a skewer), chips and a salad.
Everything is prepared on the flaming open oven at the heart of the kitchen, topped by a giant extractor to remove the barbecue smoke.
The service is brisk and amiable, there is plenty of elbow-room, the lighting is atmospheric and the walls are dotted with triffid-like towering flower arrangements.
There’s a good mix of New World and European wines, with by-the-glass options. All in all, Lala is a hale and hearty town centre dining option for Hammersmith; a place that comes into its own now that there’s an autumn chill in the air.
Lala is located at 2 Queen Caroline Street, W6. 020 8600 0200 or visit: www.lalaw6.com (opens new window).