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March 15th, 2011

HIBA (London Bridge)

Category: Bistro (£) green traffic5 150x150 HIBA (London Bridge)

Meze, if done well, are among my favourite foods for an uncomplicated girls’ night out. Just order a few plates to share with some pita bread and a bottle of wine and chat the night away, and this usually without breaking the bank.

 HIBA (London Bridge)

The Lebanese restaurant Hiba about 5 minutes walk from London Bridge down Borough High Street doesn’t look like much from the outside. Sharing a common front with Costa Coffee, which in my opinion does really crap coffee and I avoid like the plague, one might think it’s just some basic take away. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Upon entering it becomes clear that Hiba is a comfortable and inviting restaurant with modern interior and dim lighting. Also promising is the fact that a lot of the patrons appear to be Middle Eastern ranging from young couples on their first date to groups of elderly men. I always find it highly encouraging when a restaurant is frequented by nationals of the respective cuisine, as I guess they should know what the food is supposed to taste like…

I ate at Hiba twice in a short period of time and enjoyed both visits. This is a description of my second visit which was pretty similar to the first NB: Both times, we only had meze and haven’t tried any of Hiba’s main dishes which I therefore can’t judge.

The complementary pickles that arrived as soon as we were seated were a real winner: lovely aromatic olives inermixed with preserved lemons were a promise of things to come.

There always needs to be hommos somewhere, and this time we went for the Hommos Beiruty (4.95). The perfectly smooth and creamy puree of chickpeas with just a hint of spicy aftertaste was beautiful.

transparent HIBA (London Bridge)

 HIBA (London Bridge)

I thoroughly enjoyed the Grilled Halloumi Cheese (5.50). The halloumi was light, salty and squeaky (if you have eaten halloumi before you know what I mean with squeaky, otherwise go and find out icon smile HIBA (London Bridge) ) and the bbq taste nicely complemented its clean flavour. Highly addictive.

 HIBA (London Bridge)

Slightly less successful was the Tabbouleh (4.95). I can’t complain about the freshness of the ingredients or the amount of the flavoursome parsley, but they just went a bit overboard with the lemon juice and it ended up being too sour. Apart from this not a bad dish at all.

 HIBA (London Bridge)

The only meat dish we tried were the Kibbeh Shameyieh (5.50) – deep-fried lamb meatballs. I am admittedly not a big fan of fried food in general but these meatballs were lovely. Light and not the least bit greasy I particularly enjoyed their cinnamon taste.

 HIBA (London Bridge)

The waiters were not as faultless as the food. A couple of times they cleared plates away that we didn’t consider finished. And, unforgivably, they forgot to bring the Baba Ganoush we had ordered. I love the smoky taste of this aubergine puree and I was very much looking forward to it. Of course when I realised that they had forgotten I was already full and couldnt’ be bothered to order it again.

They consoled me a bit with the complementary dessert: The 3 pieces of very similar looking and very similar tasting, incredibly sweet Lebanese sweets almost made me forget my prior disappointment. I wouldn’t call them exactly tasty but they have something to them so that you just can’t stop eating even though you know every bite brings you closer to type II diabetes.

 HIBA (London Bridge)

Don’t expect surprises or sophisticated flavour combination but if you happen to be around London Bridge it’s well worth paying Hiba a visit for solid, reliable and very tasty Lebanese food.

  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 5/10
  • Ambiance: 7/10
  • Value for Money: 8/10
  • Chances of returning: 30%
  • Verdict: neighborhood Lebanese everyone would be happy to have in their neighborhood.

biglink HIBA (London Bridge)

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