IN&OUTTONIGHT 24 Wednesday, 28 October 2009 London Lite STAR RESTAURANT AmyWinehouseatCottonsRhum Shack&CaribbeanRestaurant MezzeThe Middle Easts caf culturehitsLondonwith stylishnewrestaurants BY HILARY ARMSTRONG COTTONS RHUM SHACK & CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT 55 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 (020 7485 8388, cottons- restaurant.co.uk) THIS 25-year-old Camden institution does exactly what it says on the tin. And with DJs and live bands playing Bob Marley covers at the weekend, theres never a dull moment. WHO Amy Winehouse is a regular fixture. In fact, she was spotted there last week. WHO ELSE Jay-Z, Samuel L Jackson, Mariah Carey, Lemar, Ms Dynamite, Sol Campbell. AMBIENCE The shack has a bar named Jamaica, a mezzanine level called Margarita, a basement hideout called St Lucia and a back room, Barbados. BLENDING IN Be ready to party hard the Caribbean way but remember Cottons doesnt take plastic so make sure youve got some readies. WHAT TO ORDER Calypso Chicken with pineapple, mango and lots of rum (11.50) or Amys favourite: mixed grill with jerk pork ribs, chicken, lamb kofta and pork belly (13.50). WHAT TO DRINK What do you reckon? The place has Londons largest rum collection -- more than 250. Signature cocktail is Reggae Rum Punch (7.95). BEST TABLE Number 15 by the fireplace in downstairs St Lucia. NEXT BEST THING Negril, 132 Brixton Hill, SW2 (020 8674 8798) Caribbean cool: Amy Winehouse is a regular fixture at Cottons I TS remarkable Middle Eastern food has taken so long to get the attention it deserves in London. This year, however, a series of exciting new restaurants serving the cuisine of Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Iran have opened in rapid succession. Palates are awakening to the joys of dark pomegranate molasses, smoky aubergines, saffron, pistachios, cool ses- ame pastes and fresh hummus, falafel and kebabs. See for yourself at our choice of the newest Middle Eastern eateries. ComptoirLibanais THINK of fledgling chain Comptoir Libanais as the Lebanese Leon. After opening in Westfield and Wigmore Street, theres a new one in Paddington and another coming to Finchley Road. The more the merrier, we say! These stylish, affordable shops-cum-cafs boast cool looks (kitsch murals and graphic prints) and delicious food. The mezze -- cinnamon-scented cheese sambousek (pastry parcels) and roasted pump- kin kibbeh (wheat shells) with walnuts and pomegranate -- are 3.30 for three pieces; manoushe flat breads, perhaps topped with zaatar herb mix, just 1.90. Fattoush (baby gem salad with herbs and pitta croutons), 5.50, and smoky baba ghanouj (aubergine pure), 3.30, also get our vote. lecomptoir.co.uk Pilpel THANKS to such new mini-chains a s H u m m u s B r o s , M i d d l e Eastern snackings coming to every high street. Latest arrival is Pilpel, where Israeli owner Uri Dinay serves falafel, falafel and, er, thats about it. The wonderful herby chickpea fritters are made to his grand- fathers recipe and fried fresh to order. Enjoy them in a hot pitta, 3.99, topped with feta, (50p extra) or aubergine (40p), and with crunchy salad and a dollop of tahina (sesame seed sauce) and chilli sauce. Not sure what to eat? The generous staff let you try before you buy. But beware queues of Spitalfields workers snaking out of the door at lunch. Inside are 10 perches: get there early to beat the rush. 38 Brushfield St, E1 (020 7247 0146) YallaYalla TEENSY Yalla Yalla, tucked down a Soho alley, has salivating critics, bloggers and foodies piling in. The charming caf barely fits 20 but there are queues every lunch- time for takeaway wraps of halloumi, marinated chicken or lamb, all 4.50. The Beirut street food menu offers the usual kebabs, wraps and sam- bousek pastries, but made with love and sparkling fresh ingredients. Must- tries are kibee knayye (a kind of lamb tartare) and garlicky chicken livers sticky with pomegranate molasses. Dont miss the orange blossom- scented semolina cake -- if you can resist the baklava, that is. 1 Greens Court, Soho, W1 (020 7287 7663) LayaLina CHAMPERS is quaffed and cocktail glasses clinked with live music and belly dancers at this chi-chi Knightsbridge spot. The mezze, a tad pricier An authentic taste of Lebanon: Comptoir Libanais 1ingredient2ways BAKED PLAICE WITH ORANGE AND THYME STUFFING Serves 4 4 large plaice fillets 50g low-fat spread 1 small onion, finely chopped 4 slices Warburtons Stoneground Wholemeal made into breadcrumbs Rind and juice of 1 large orange 1 tbsp thyme leaves 1 egg, beaten 100ml vegetable stock Rinse plaice. Melt half the spread in a pan and saut onion. Add to breadcrumbs with orange rind, thyme and egg. Share stuffing between fish and roll up. Melt rest of spread, add orange juice and stock. Pour over fish fillets and add thyme sprigs. Bake for 15-20 mins, serve with fresh vegetables. MELBA TOASTS WITH SMOKED MACKEREL PT Serves 1 75g smoked mackerel, skinned 2 slices Warburtons Seeded Batch Squeeze of lemon juice 2 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt Melba toast: lightly grill bread on both sides, cut off crusts and cut in half, split each slice lengthways, grill untoasted side till crisp. Pt: mash fish, add lemon, yogurt and top with watercress and tomato. INASSOCIATIONWITH bread! index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html