In our article ‘Introduction to the foods of Ramadan’ we described just some of the foods that are consumed before sunrise and after sunset during Ramadan. In this article, we’ve selected some our favourite places to eat or shop for Ramadan foods on Edgware Road, followed by two recipes inspired by the area.
The pre-dawn meal, Suhoor focuses on sustaining foods that will release energy slowly, while the after-sunset meal, Iftar is more of a feast, often taken buffet style at gatherings in homes or mosques.
The Arabic population around Edgware Road is bursting with delicious and dynamic cafes, shops and restaurants, all selling traditional foods – so much so, that the area is often known as Little Beirut or Little Cairo.
Maroush: This group of Lebanese restaurants offers something for everyone, be it a quick bite at Maroush Express, or a more lengthy, sit down meal at one of the larger restaurants. During Ramadan, they provide free of charge Qamar al-din for their customers – a drink prepared from dried apricots, which is popular for breaking the fast at Iftar.
There is also an Iftar set meal available, which breaks fast in the traditional way with dates, followed by soup, a fattoush salad, then a selection of hot dishes and baklawa for dessert.
Diwan Damas Deli: This Syrian shop is packed with treats which draw the sweet of tooth from miles around. Cheese filled filo crackles, yielding to creamy fillings; sticky, syrup soaked baklava wink from display cabinets, brimming with golden nuts and there’s a wonderful version of kunefe, not stuffed with cheese as they do in Turkey and Lebanon but a crisp tangle of sweet pastry noodles atop a thick, fluffy custard. Heaven.
Green Valley : This Lebanese Grocer has been trading just off Edgware Road for nearly 30 years and is a true treasure trove of excellent ingredients, as well as ready to take home delicacies sought out by Arabic customers.
You’re greeted by an extensive fresh vegetable section, also boasting great, feathery bunches of herbs, plus a selection of barrels containing different types of preserved olives and cheese. Explore further and you’ll find the fantastic deli counters at the back, bursting with meze such as kibbeh, moutabel, stuffed savoury pastries, cheeses and more. There’s a bread oven in the corner, which is constantly turning out puffy pita breads and there’s even an in-house butcher. On your way out, don’t forget to swing by the sweets counter for baklava and ice cream.
Simi’s Ice Cream: Those needing to cool off should head for Simi’s ice cream, where all the flavours are Halal. They’re very inventive, and change their flavours regularly, so there’s always something new to try. We particularly love their Ferrero Rocher ice cream and also their sundaes which come classic style, with a shiny cherry on top.
We have asked the experts on Edgware Road for some of their favourite recipes during Ramadan. Mrs. Hiyam, who runs Green Valley, provided us malfouf, a dish of cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, minced lamb and spices, cooked gently in a garlicky broth. The second is fattoush – a crisp, refreshing summer salad of seasonal salad vegetables and crunchy pita chips – perfect for the hot weather. Often the pita pieces are fried but we prefer this version, with grilled chips which are healthier and less hassle. Learn how to make both dishes here.