Now I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to restaurants, I think I’m quite boring when I go out for food and have certain a number of places that I like to go to regularly. A few years ago myself and a friend used to organise a monthly A-Z dining club in Leeds. It was a great excuse to try out different restaurants and also to have a catch up with mates. When we got to the letter F there weren’t too many places beginning with that letter which were any good, apart from Fuji Hiro (which is a big favourite in Leeds), but opposite Fuji Hiro is Fairuz, a lebanese restaurant. We chose Fairuz apart from wanting to try some Lebanese food, we would all be Fairuz virgins, and in keeping with the idea of dining club that’s where we went. It turned out to be a winner that night, since then I’ve walked past it many times but just hadn’t been back until Saturday night.
Now to look at the place it doesn’t look like it would have anything to offer, the building is dated and the interior could do with a good sprucing up. But this place is all to do with the food and service and not the surroundings!
We ordered humous and batara harra for starters, a mixed grill and a dish called fassoulya with meatballs for the main course. The man who welcomed us into the restaurant also took our order and was very chatty and friendly.
The starters arrived and were very delicious, the creamy humous was topped with lots of olive oil and chick peas. It had plenty of garlic and a good amount of tahini (sesame paste). The pitta bread was served lovely and warm.
The batata harra literally means spicy potatoes, their version is made with lime, chilli and coriander. Other variations contain red peppers and traditionally are sautéed with cumin seeds and curry leaves. It was lovely, the potatoes were soft enough so they had bite and weren’t like baby food, the chilli gave a warming feeling without being too hot (great for me because I don’t do hot stuff) and the lime cut through the chilli heat.
Both starters were polished off quickly and this set us up well for the main courses.
The mixed grill had a lamb fillet, chicken fillet, a kofta which had been grilled with a mysterious special seasoning on it, rice, salad and a yoghurt type dip. I was told by my dining partner that it was very tasty indeed!!!
My dish the fassoulya I loved, it had a thick rich tomato stew with kidney beans, chick peas and cannellini beans, soft meatballs and a decent portion of rice to match the portion of stew. I found the rice very intriguing, since the 1st time I’d eaten there years ago I’d thought the rice was just extremely yummy and I’ve always wondered how they cooked it. My husband very kindly asked the man and he said they just steam it gently, adding some olive oil to it. I’ll definitely be taking this on board. We were both very satisfied at the end of our meal and when asked if we wanted any baklava or coffees, we regrettably had to decline!
They also do a chef’s meze (chefs choice of starters and main courses – £16.95), a special meze (your choice of starters and main courses – £21.95) and a party meze (all night meze, chefs selection of meat and vegetarian tapas – minimum of 2 people – £13,95). If you would prefer to order from the a la carte it’s divided into dips, e.g. humous, taramasalata and baba ghanoush, a wide selection of starters, e.g. sautéed spinach leaves, falafel and fattayer. The main courses have something to suit everyone, e.g. koftas, chicken shawarma, seafood with rice and tagines with cous cous.
I wish Fairuz had a bigger following than it does, the food is fantastic and the service is really friendly!! The building that the restaurant is in is drab and not the ideal location, but if the food is this good, then I’m surprised more people don’t eat here. I can’t believe it’s taken me ages to come back again. Our bill was £49.85 for 2 people with a service charge included, very reasonable and we went home well fed and looking forward to the next time we go back.Fairuz Lower ground floor Fairfax House Wade Lane Leeds