CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Layla, Esher, Surrey KT10 9QL - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 18:59 06 December 2010 | UPDATED: 12:31 01 October 2014

Layla lebanese restaurant in Esher

Layla lebanese restaurant in Esher

Keen to take a break from all the craziness of Christmas, JOHN HUGHES sneaked into the Lebanese restaurant Layla in Esher, where he enjoyed a mouthwatering meal

Read our 2013 review of Layla, here

***

Sometimes, it's rather refreshing to go against the grain during the festive season, in the way some people like to jet off somewhere hot and sunny for Christmas. If you apply this to dining out, I can't recommend anywhere more highly than Layla, a Lebanese restaurant in the middle of Esher where you can certainly have fun and be festive, but without the traditional Christmas trimmings (in fact, you're more likely to encounter a belly dancer than Santa Claus).


The restaurant is attractive and tasteful with a relaxing lounge bar at the front and cosy dining area beyond, which includes several alcoves offering privacy for couples or larger groups. Best of all, the lighting is perfect - subtle and warm and a model that other restaurants could learn from.

I went along on a quiet Monday evening but at weekends it's heaving by all accounts. Photographer Helen and I had a guest with us on this occasion, Mary Ann, so we sampled more dishes than usual, starting with a selection of cold and hot mezzes - sort of Lebanese tapas dishes and ideal for sharing.

Our choice consisted of muhamara - a crunchy dip of lightly pureed nuts; cheese sambusak - pastry parcels filled with cheese; roast asparagus with Parma ham - fresh asparagus individually wrapped in Parma ham and baked in olive oil and Arabic spices; plus a complementary taboulet - a delightfully refreshing traditional Lebanese salad of parsley, tomato, spring onions and crushed wheat, which turned out to be the star of the bunch.

Helen chose moussaka as a main course, prepared in Lebanese style with sliced potato to make it different from its Greek counterpart. I went for the Layla seafood surprise - marinated prawns and scallops with fresh herbs and lime wrapped in trout fillets, baked in a lobster sauce and garnished with more asparagus - as utterly mouthwatering as it sounds. Meanwhile, Mary Ann followed the chef's recommendation, one of his specialities - lamb shank served with rice and roasted vegetables. This, too, was quite outstanding, and to appreciate both as much as possible, we swapped dishes halfway through!

Culinary delights

Remarkably, we all had room for desserts, or perhaps not so remarkable for such well-balanced dishes. Between us we polished off karabeej halabi - pistachio filled shortcrust pastries served with meringue cream; baklawa - layered pastries with almonds, pistachios and pine kernels; and the richest dark chocolate ice cream imaginable.

Sadly, I rushed into choosing a bottle of Italian Collio Pinot Noir, which was fine in itself but drew me away from the chance of sampling one of Layla's Lebanese wines. Next time, perhaps. We rounded the meal off with Arabic coffee, a little too strong and heavy on the sediment for me, but after such culinary delights, frankly, it didn't matter.



What we ate

Starters (Cold and Hot Mezzes)

Muhamara £5.50
Cheese sambusak £6.50
Roast asparagus
with Parma ham £7.95
Taboulet £4.50

Main Courses

Layla seafood surprise £17.50
Lamb shank £16.50
Moussaka £13.95

Desserts
Karabeej halabi £4.95
Baklawa £6.95
Dark chocolate ice cream £4.90

Drinks
Collio Pinot Grigio £24
Arabic coffee £2.50

Verdict

Food and drink 9
Service 9
Venue 9



3 other Middle Eastern restaurants to try...

Saffron
5 The Square, Richmond
Tel: 020 8940 1138
Persian artwork lines the walls as the Middle Eastern cuisine takes you off to distant shores.

Meejana Food & Wine Boutique
49 Church Street, Weybridge
Tel: 01932 830444
This bijou restaurant in Weybridge serves traditional Lebanese food with half of the menu vegetarian.

Cedar Restaurant
144 Merton High Street, Wimbledon
Tel: 020 8543 4520
A fine selection of Lebanese wine is available to complement the fine food at this popular restaurant.

Reviewed in Surrey Life magazine December 2008

Reviewed: Layla Restaurant 110 High Street, Esher, Surrey KT10 9QL Tel: 01372 462333

Keen to take a break from all the craziness of Christmas, JOHN HUGHES sneaked into the Lebanese restaurant Layla in Esher, where he enjoyed a mouthwatering meal


Share your favourite Surrey restaurants


SUBSCRIBE to Surrey Life magazine
BUY SL online


More from Surrey Life

Thu, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search