Lilo Grill House

Just the name of this restaurant made me think of my summer holidays, floating on the pool under the Hellenic sun. Entering the restaurant made me feel even more reminiscent with the aroma of the cooking and the sight of the shish and kebabs all displayed in the open kitchen, but here, we are further east than Greece and Turkey and more into the realms of Middle Eastern spices and herbs.

Lilo does not pretend to be a fine dining experience but there is a wide range of what must be good Middle Eastern everyday food judging by the number of families that were all eating together in the early evening making the restaurant full of bustle and very atmospheric.

The prices reflect the type of custom the restaurant is looking for with starters all at £2.50 - £3.20 and lighter versions of main meals which come in wraps or sandwiches of Lebanese bread at around £4.50. Accompanied on this trip by our Egypt-loving Administrator, we shared one of the starters with the said Lebanese bread, Lamb Arayes which is minced lamb sandwiched in the Lebanese bread which is quite thin but crispy. The lamb was tasty and spicy and with this we tried the cigar-shaped Cheese Bouraq which were stuffed with Feta – very cleansing to the palate. As you can imagine, this type of cooking caters well for vegetarians but we stuck solidly to meat dishes for the main course – a Chicken Shish which was moist pieces of chicken grilled on a skewer with a choice of sauces – the chilli is good and tingly! Next we had the Lamb Qouzy, which came as two chunks of lamb on the bone – this is lamb at its best, succulent, moist with an element of muttony texture – the best I have tasted outside Greece. This came with an unusual aubergine sauce but you could also have others such as okra. The main courses were served with Lilo’s version of Naan Bread which were much thinner and lighter than you would have in an Indian restaurant – made simply with flour and salt. All the main courses including the various grills are priced between £6.75 - £7.50 and for the fish-eater, there is a char-grilled sea bass at a pretty good £9.50. For a party or a real family outing you can have a whole or half of lamb presented on a platter with all accompaniments – at 2 days notice!

For those valiant folk amongst you who give up alcohol for February, this is an ideal restaurant to treat yourselves without falling into temptation as it is not licensed. There is a long menu of drinks you can have from the Juice Bar – all the fruits piled high on display – I chose an apple, banana and raspberry Tootie Fruitie – it must have been a 2008 and I think the apples were from the south-facing slope! – it wasn’t perhaps the best complement to the lamb but I’m sure it was very good for me!!!

Lilo Grill House, 72 City RoadCardiff - 02920450089.

Richard Fisher

 

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