YOU may not have noticed Huddersfield town centre’s newest restaurant yet.
Med One only opened in December and Syrian born husband and wife team Khalil and Rojin Khalaf are yet to install a sign above their Westgate premises.
But I implore you to tell everyone you know that it is here as my experience at their Lebanese style eatery was one of the best I’ve had in years.
And at just £27 for two, including booze, it offers a slightly cheaper and more interesting option than the uninspiring fare available at nearby global chicken chain Nandos.
Although they are new in town, the Khalafs have run restaurants for nearly 25 years and I am assured the choices on the menu are largely what it is eaten in the Levantine area of the Middle East, encompassing Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.
Venturing into the unknown territory from a rainy Huddersfield night my friend Emma and I are given a very warm welcome and within minutes freshly baked Aleppo flatbread is produced with chilli and yoghurt dips to keep us going while we choose our starters, many of which are just £2.50.
Assuming they were Meze style tasters I asked the waiter if I should order four or five.
Looking slightly shocked he assured me they were full portions and one would be sufficient.
He wasn’t wrong.
My Lahm Ajeen (£2.50), a baked flatbread topped with a spicy minced lamb, would pass for a main course at many less generous restaurants, with the balance of chilli and garlic seasoning being just the right hotness for my taste.
Emma’s falafel (£3.99) was nothing like the dry stodgy deep fried chickpea balls that most supermarkets and restaurants serve up these days.
Freshly made by Mr Khalaf they are light and tasty and accompanied by a lovely Tahini dip.
As we sipped our beers and pondered the impressively fresh ingredients our expectations for our main courses suddenly grew.
A short time later our main courses arrived and things were looking good.
My Shish kebab (£6.99) was nicely presented with a portion of rice, pitta bread, humous and salad and was simply very tasty.
Emma’s chicken Shawerma (£6.99) also hit the spot with a generous but not overwhelming portion.
Her chicken was nicely spiced although she felt it could have done with a touch more punch, perhaps because she’s more used to heavily flavoured curries.
As we were tucking in to our hearty platefuls chef Khalaf came over and asked us if everything was good and offered to bake some more bread.
How could we resist?
Having stuffed ourselves to the point of contentment we began to debate if we had room to try one of the interesting looking desserts.
The decision was taken out of our hands when our waiter offered us a complimentary taster portion of Ish El Saraya (£3.99) – crust free toast soaked in a light rose syrup topped with clotted cream and pistachio nuts.
The dish, which is best described as fruitless trifle-cum-cheesecake, was nicely complemented by the authentic cup of herbal tasting Arabic black coffee poured from an elaborate decorative pot, which I’m led to believe is called a Dallah.
Emma meanwhile enjoyed her first experience of rose syrup with a small glass of black tea.
Chef Khalaf tells me his symbol his olive oil and assures me all dishes are made fresh to order so if authentic Middle Eastern food is not your thing I would imagine the large range of pizzas and more rudimentary dishes such as lamb chops and chicken drumsticks would exceed your expectations.
Lebanese food is something new for Huddersfield and certainly nothing to be scared of being fairly similar to Greek or Turkish cuisine.
If you’re bored of eating the same old dishes and like mildly spiced Mediterranean food give it a try, it certainly won’t break the bank.