Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Galleria Restaurant - A Persian Lunch in Trendy Marylebone

Galleria - 17 New Cavendish Street, London W1
020 7224 1692


After what was a long trip over from NY, I was a bit disheartened but not completely surprised to find out that my hotel room wasn't ready when I arrived.  And being that I didn't eat a thing on the plane, I was appropriately famished, therefore deciding to get a bite to pass the time (and to satisfy my hunger).

Not walking too too far over from my hotel on Welbeck Street in Marylebone, I hit New Cavendish Street, which offers a pretty walkway with some charming brownstones and a helping of cafes, bakeries and some trendy boutiques.

Right away, I noticed a nice eatery called Galleria with outdoor seating and an eclectic Persian menu.  This was automatically a big plus for me, as I love ethnic food, and something meat-focused is just what I needed to sustain myself.

As I mentioned, I was initially drawn to the Galleria for its casual outdoor seating.  The overall feel was very different from my dining experience on Marylebone High Street, as you didn't get the background noise from the car or the pedestrians traffic.

And while the interior of the cafe was attractive and inviting, boasting a variety of modern art and portraiture, it was a lot more nice to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.  While I felt that the service must've been quicker inside, I didn't feel neglected outdoors and got to relax and even do some sparse people watching, which is always fun to do in a foreign country.

My area of focus quickly became the sandwiches, as they sounded delicious and filling, but at the same time, they had an attractive price point (under 7 Pounds).  I wanted to get something more interesting and ethnic versus the ordinary bruschetta, chicken club or tuna melt, so I went for the Pan-Fried Persian Cotlet Wrap.

Pan Fried Persian Cotlet Wrap - I adore lamb and the fact that this sandwich was made up of a fried version of it totally sold me.  Not to mention that it was lighter on carbs, served on thin Lavash bread that resembled a wrap.  What I loved about the latter is that it had an almost tortilla like texture, but in terms of flavor, there was a lot more there.

The actual lamb cotlets were delicious and boasted a thick crispy skin that made this sandwich feel like an indulgence.  Dressed with a bit of mayo (maybe slightly too much for my liking), fresh tomato slices, and tangy, long slices of pickles (or gherkins as the British say), it was a nice way to try something new without dipping into too much uncommon ground.  I'd recommend this option to anyone who loves Middle Eastern food, including falafel, as this strongly resembled it in texture but not so much in flavor.

Service and Cost:
Giving off an authentic vibe, I believe that our servers were native Persians and they had a clear control of the menu and what it offered.  Their attitude was more or less low-key, which I liked but at the same time I felt taken care of - but in a more lax way.

Costs are moderate for this expensive neighborhood and the aforementioned lunch with a drink set me back about 9 Pounds, including tip.

3 Mmmms

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