El Nomad

Tel: +44 (0)1895 624700
Address: 136 High Street, Ruislip HA4 8LL
Cuisine Type: Lebanese
nearest tube station Ruislip (PICCADILLY & METROPOLITAN)

For a taste of Lebanon, one doesn’t normally think about heading to Ruislip. However, in this case, a short jaunt to the outskirts of London will undoubtedly not disappoint.

Located on the high street, El Nomad clearly stands out from its neighbouring establishments. On warm evenings, floor-to-ceiling front windows open to give this space an airy feel, and beckon diners by providing a glimpse of the warm, colourful and tasteful décor inside, and luring with wafts of spicy aromas.

The authentic menu is broken down into cold and hot mezes (starters), charcoal grill and other main courses. The meze selections are superb (£2.50 – £4.95) – you really cannot go wrong with any. Try the mutabal, grilled aubergine with sesame paste and lemon, kallage, halloumi cheese grilled in Lebanese bread, makanek, mild Lebanese sausages or for something a bit more familiar, spicy chilli potatoes. If you plan to order several mezes to share, ask your server to arrange them all for you on a platter – the presentation is beautiful and provides a wonderfully communal experience. Pitta comes alongside most dishes, so unless you’re sticking to mezes, try not to fill up.

The main courses (£8.00 – £16.50) are tasty as well, although primarily geared toward meat lovers. The mixed grill (£10.95) is an excellent – and very reasonable – way to sample many of the meat dishes, as it includes skewered lamb pieces, garlicky chicken cubes and a flavourful blend of minced meat, onions and parsley. Vegetarians can choose from a fine variety of dishes like mussakaa, aubergine with chickpeas, peppers and rice or tomato-based mixed vegetables with couscous. If you’re craving seafood, this may not be the best place, as only Dover sole and king prawns are on offer. That said, the sole is deliciously lemony and moist.

The wine list is thoughtful and quite extensive. Bottled wines range from £9.95 – £25.00, with varieties from Lebanon and many other vineyards around the world. Wines by the glass are £2.75 – £3.95 and include a lovely fruity red from Lebanon’s Chateau Kefraya. For something a bit stronger, El Nomad also offers a traditional, milky, anise-based liqueur called Arak, which can be had as an aperitif or after-dinner drink – but too many of those and you won’t be driving home!

Dessert (£3.00 – £3.50) is relatively predictable – baklava, ice cream or fruit. Frankly, you won’t be let down as the mezes and main courses are the highlights, and will definitely have left you feeling contented.

With well-spaced tables and soft background music, El Nomad is the type of place you can go to for a leisurely dinner for two or with a group of friends – conversation is easily had. Understandably a local favourite, this exceedingly hospitable dining spot is also worth a visit if you are seeking an exotic weeknight dinner or weekend lunch and are passing through the area.