Afandina Lebanese Cuisine
133 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9TN
020 7737 7577
Opening hours: Noon to midnight, every day
This restaurant was Turkish last time we visited (see our review of Red Onion from 2015) but now is Lebanese serving Halal food. It is still incredibly large and we have never seen it full, so if you need somewhere to eat any day of the week (open midday to midnight) then this is the place for you. Alternatively it does takeaways and you can even stay at home and order a delivery. We were the only sitting customers at 7.30 on a Saturday night, but it was appalling weather. Also, maybe, because it is a little uninviting, with a vast space in the back, high ceilings everywhere, and relatively sparse decor on white walls. Cosy, it’s not, even with the fan heater they provided to help dry us out. But they have tried to soften it with real flowers on every table – ours was a lovely pink rose.
The menu has two pages of Lebanese specialties and then a page of sandwiches and items with chips. We chose from the Middle Eastern section. There are hot and cold starters as well as salads. The mains are divided into Middle Eastern and Afandina specials. This list is pretty long but we chose a Fatoush (salad with toasted squares of thin Lebanese bread) and Arayes. The salad came with two sauces – garlic mayonnaise and a chilli one – but could have done with more mint and summac. It was a crisp way of starting the meal. Arayes is a thin, hot sandwich of lamb and parsley in Lebanese bread served with some onions, tomato and red pepper. It was delicious, the high spot oif the meal, and just right for a rainy evening. We polished it all off.
Our main courses were aubergine moussaka and lamb shank, both with rice. The aubergine moussaka didn’t look anything like what I would expect a moussaka to look like. It was a ratatouille with lots of flavoursome sauce. Very pleasant and all those vegetables made me feel virtuous. The lamb shank was huge but a bit chewy in parts. But the accompanying rice was great. It was mixed with toasted almonds which gave it a little texture.
They don’t serve alcohol, so this makes it the go to place in January – potentially vegan and dry. We had homemade lemonade and hot mint tea. The lemonade was very lemony and delicious (running out of hyperbole) and the sweet mint tea was a refreshing accompaniment to the meal. The bill came to £38 without a tip. We are definitely going again. It is hard to find a restaurant that provides good food at a reasonable price and is quiet enough for a conversation on Saturday night (Shsh – we don’t want to many people to find out.)