It’s the end of the year, all we want to do is curl up with loved ones, watch the lights twinkle and remember all the good things that have happened over the past twelve months. Instead A and I ventured out into the sleet to the little village of Box, and a newly opened coffee house- Toast.
As well as a delicious toast based menu in the day, it lends itself to Sara’s Kitchen- a Lebanese catering company for a few evenings a month, and it was in this intimate setting we found ourselves last night. Hand made paper chains, wooden carved ornaments and hundreds of tiny twinkling lights mingled with the mouth watering scents wafting from the open kitchen and felt like home.
We ate course upon course, courgette fritters, Kibbeh (the National dish of Lebanon), red pepper hummus, chicken with sumac, spiced lamb, rice pilaf, gaza salad, chocolate torte with orange and k’naafeh (crispy stringy wheat with creamy cheese and syrup). It was all utterly divine. So full of flavour and spice, but never over powering. The chicken was lemony and rich from the sumac, and the k’naafeh topped with rose petal jam that was so sweet and sticky we were rendered speechless. All we could muster were a few quiet appreciative mumblings that may have been translated into ‘yum’.
After we ate, the equally talented and lovely chef, Sara came over and offered to read our Arabic coffee cups, a tip she’d learnt from her grandmother. Growing up in Kuwait, Sara learned how to roll vine leaves at her grandmothers table, the spices and scents of her heritage she now shares through her catering company.
It’s rare to spend a night in the company of strangers that makes you feel so at home. We shared our table with four other guests, each one as kind and interesting as the next and all Box locals. The owner, Lucy, dropped in to say hello, justly proud of her beautiful space. We left much later than planned, full and happy and pleasantly surprised at the evening we’d just had. We’ll be back.
Find Toast Coffee House and Sara’s Kitchen on Facebook, or twitter @SaraJobling and @Toast_coffee.