Lebanese food would not usually be on my list of top choices for dining out. That is because I have always been fortunate enough to be spoilt by my good Lebanese friends who happen to be great home cooks, which also explains why I rarely visit Lebanese restaurants. However, I was recently invited to a friends’ gathering where we visited Lona Grill House on Gloucester Road. It has been a while since I made a visit to a Lebanese restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised by everything the place had to offer.
Located in the Bishopston part of Gloucester Road, the restaurant is very easy to find with plenty of street parking available in the area. There are also wide entrances for disable access and pushchair users. The restaurant’s décor looks typically Mediterranean and there is a large open kitchen for grilled food items. The menu has a huge selection of foods with over 90 items and in our case where we were not so familiar with how to order, we decided to go for one of the four sharing platters available. These sharing plates seem quite large by their menu description and after asking our waiter who suggested the Round Four of the Lona Special Rounds (£69.95) is recommended for 4 people. We decided to give this a try for our table of five people and in case if it was not enough, we would order more food. This Round Four sharing plate consisted of Lamb Kufta, Lamb Mashwi, Shish Taouk, Chicken Kofta, Chicken Musahab, Ribs, Cutlets, Chicken Wings, Mixed Shawarma, King Prawns, Lamb Arayas which were served on rice, burgal and fries divided into 3 equal sections in a large circular pan with naan bread on top. The grilled meats were very well seasoned and had a well-balanced and distinctive charcoal grill taste.
As for the portion size, it was outrageously large for what was suggested as a four persons sharing plate. It was a truly carnivorous meal and could rival any mediaeval banquet to match. Despite the huge portions, the food was very well prepared and delicious throughout, making one of the most outstanding mixed grill meals I have had in a while. However, just when you are starting to enjoy flavourful grilled meats and you find yourself wanting to sip an ice cold beer; you will be disappointed to find that the restaurant does not serve any alcohol.
Although no alcohol is a bit of a let-down, the highlight of the drinks menu was the main juice section where there are over 50 combinations of fruit and vegetable juices to choose from. All juices are freshly squeezed as you order it which makes it quite tempting to try one of the many inspiringly named juice concoctions.
The overall service was fair but it does help if you spell out the exact specifics of what you want to the staffs so as to avoid any confusion. Although the portions on some of the dishes can turn out to be much bigger than expected, don’t be embarrassed and be prepared to take home a doggie bag of your unfinished food. The restaurant is great for hosting large parties and although alcohol is not available, there are plenty of juices to help you detox a little and if you are bringing young children, there is an indoor play area to keep them entertained.
Lona Grill House
281-283 Gloucester Road
Tel. 0117 942 6100