Yara

Yara

21/01/23

Wilmslow Road, Cheadle

We’ve popped down to Greater Manchester for the night and – of course – we need to eat. We’re visiting family who have recently moved house, and now they’re near Cheadle, giving us a whole new (to us) raft of neighbourhood restaurants to explore. The area is lively and vibrant, and there’s a lot of choice – but our hosts have been to Yara before, and assure us that the hummus alone is worth the trip.

Yara is a Lebanese and Syrian restaurant. It’s big, but it runs like clockwork, the young staff friendly and efficient and clearly well trained. They do sell booze, but you can also BYO, which we do – simply because it’s cheaper, and so why wouldn’t we? We’re provided with an ice bucket and glasses, and left to peruse the menu.

We order separately, but actually share everything. This works well for the starters. We have the hummus dip, of course, which comes with pitta, and decide to try the labneh too. This concentrated yoghurt dip is a creamy, herby delight. We have broad beans and tomatoes in the form of a full-flavoured ful madamas, and a generous portion grilled halloumi, cooked to perfection – nicely charred on the outside and soft in the middle.

Given that we’ve decided to share, we really ought to pay more attention to what the others around us are ordering for mains, but we don’t, and so end up with four lamb dishes. They’re different, of course, but I wish we’d opted for a chicken and a veggie dish as part of the mix. Never mind. Between us we have a lamb shawarma, a lamb sharhat, a bamieh and a muklabeh c.y. salad. Three of the dishes come with rice, and we’ve also ordered a Greek salad (the feta cheese is particularly delicious). They’re all good, but the standout is probably the muklabeh, despite it being one of the ugliest dishes I’ve ever seen. Its unprepossessing appearance conceals something very special: the aubergines have been slow-cooked so that they’re almost caramelised, and melt in the mouth before giving way to the succulent lamb and rice beneath.

The first two courses are a hit, so naturally we want to see if the puddings can compete. They can. We share some ballorieh knafeh (pastry stuffed with pistachio nuts, butter and honey), a piece of walnut honey cake, a portion of muhalabieh, which tastes like a cross between panna cotta and cheesecake, and – best of all – a selection of different flavoured chunks of Turkish delight.

So yes, we’ve had a lovely time. Sated, we venture out into the icy air, and head home, still smiling, for more drinks and some long overdue family time. A palpable hit.

4.4 stars.

Susan Singfield