Unassuming and unpretentious it would be easy to miss the Cedar Lebanese Restaurant opposite the Kings theatre on a busy part of Albert Road, in Portsmouth.
But once you step through the door there is no mistaking the traditional Lebanese music, authentic tasty food and outstanding hospitality and service.
The traditional menu offers a breakfast selection featuring zaatar manoushe. Given that I am not that familiar with Middle Eastern traditions and that they open at one in the afternoon and close at one in the morning, I didn’t dare ask.
There is a limited but good selection of salads, hot and cold mezze as well as charcoal grilled dishes, platters, wraps and sweets to round the meal off.
But be warned the portions are generous and if you have an eye for the desserts don’t overdo it.
We travelled up to London by train and after we got everything sorted out at the Embassy we went looking for a late breakfast.
Despite reservations, I have learnt not to argue when she is hungry. So I allowed myself to be steered towards a table in what at first appeared to be a traditional English tea shop festooned with garlands of roses.
Yes, it was a tea shop.
Yes, they serve cream teas and offer an exciting array of home baked cakes and pastries. But I needn’t have worried. Because breakfast all but forgotten, what caught my eye was a lentil soup. Slightly spiced and served with a cheesy pastry twist and crunchy bits you toss into the soup.
Although I did also order a croissant with scrambled egg and haloumi. Just as a reminder of why we were there.
Inadvertently we had found our way to Fait Maisson. A French inspired, Palestinian owned, traditional English tea room serving Middle Eastern food from a menu that also offers both traditional English and Middle Eastern breakfast options and possibly the best Maqluba to be found in London.
An interesting experience and the best lentil soup ever