Venue: Damascena, 5-7 Temple Row West, B2 5NY; website
In terms of priorities, breathing's pretty far up there. But from the precise moment Damascena's mixed meze landed, until we dispatched with the final morsel of fattoush salad, we didn't fully inhale and exhale even once. At the forefront of this generous platter equation, the unbridled auberginey joy of baba ganoush, a Levantine dip. The house garlicky fava-bean fuul is a best-seller from the team's original Moseley cafe, and also won a place in our exclusively food-driven heart. And as we're talking Middle Eastern, you may have some questions about where lamb will be making an appearance in this happy tale. Get an order of Kibbeh Makliya (£3.50), being ground bulgar wheat, stuffed with lamb mince, pomegranate, walnuts and herbs. Together with the mixed meze, this is enough for two but we're completely pro over-ordering where this absolute asset to the city centre is concerned. You can't book but tables rotate quickly. Just don't forget to breathe. Menu
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