Yalla review: beyond shawarma and kebabs, the unusual dishes are hard to resist

You can also eat in here, and this makes me want to book a table at the restaurant

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Address: Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14, D14 YA70
Telephone: 01 22 38646
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Cost: €€

What’s on offer?

Aws Kafaji and her partner Ali Fahad, both originally from Baghdad, Iraq, opened Yalla on St Patrick’s Day last year. It is a low-key restaurant with a takeaway. The menu extends way beyond shawarma and kebabs, and includes more unusual dishes such as arayes, pita stuffed with spiced ground beef and grilled; bamya, okra cooked with lamb in tomato sauce; foul mudammas, a fava bean stew; and kibbeh bil laban, a yogurt-based dish. There is a good selection of vegetarian options, such as mezze with falafel, hummus and baba ganoush; lentil soup; and manakish, a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with za’atar. Dessert options include baklava and konafa, cheese baked in shredded phyllo and sweetened with syrup. Kafaji also owns Falafel on Essex Street in Temple Bar.

What did we order?

Baba ganoush, lentil soup, kibbeh bil laban and lamb shawarma.

How was the service?

Ordering online is straightforward with good descriptions of the dishes. The collection time was 20 minutes after we had placed the order.

Was the food nice?

I love baba ganoush, an aubergine dip, and Yalla’s is notably good; chunky with a smokiness adding depth of flavour. The lentil soup is substantial, a smooth soup of lentils with onions, garlic, carrots, celery and tomatoes. It comes with pita. The shawarma is a very generous portion, with cinnamon, cumin, coriander and garlic coming through from the marinade. It comes with a tahini sauce, a simple salad and pita. The word kibbeh means dome in Arabic and the word laban means yoghurt, giving an indication of what is in the kibbeh bil laban. Minced lamb is mixed with onions, cinnamon, mint and spices, encased in a crisp outer shell made of bulgur wheat and cooked in a creamy yoghurt and garlic sauce. It is delicious. It is listed as coming with rice, but in error, our takeaway has chips.


What did it cost?

€44.20 for dinner two people – baba ganoush, €6.50; lentil soup, €6; kibbeh bil laban, €16; lamb shawarma, €15; processing fee €0.70.

Where does it deliver?

No delivery, pick-up for takeaway only. Open 11am to 10pm daily.

Would I order it again?

Most definitely. Everything is individually spiced and there are some unusual dishes you are unlikely to get elsewhere. The portions are very generous.

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column