By Leila Stocker
Last week we had the pleasure of visiting London’s first Armenian restaurant in Mayfair – Lusin. Its name means moon to the Armenian nation, which is situated in the mountainous Caucasus region straddling Asia and Europe.
The upscale offering opened in October and exudes luxury. Its majestic entrance pillars and opulent interior were designed by Arch. Maram Seddiq, featuring Tuff Stone originally sourced from the Armenian Mountains and hand-made carvings resembling Armenian Khachkar, symbols and signs from the “Tree of Life” to the “Eternity” symbol.
The cuisine of Armenia is rich dichotomy influenced by the vibrant cultures of Eastern Europe and the Levant. It developed during the 19th century, due to the division between the Russian and Ottoman Empires. Traditional dishes therefore include all kinds of mezzes, such as hummus, tabbouleh, Moutabal and Russian- influenced as matzone (yoghurt), plus Armenia’s UNESCO-listed, lavash bread.
Photos courtesy of Edmund Dabney
We experienced this exquisite combination of different tastes and aromas at Lusin, with sprinklings of the deep crimson pomegranate, symbolic of the Armenian nation and bright orange apricot, the national fruit. Dishes on the menu were created by Madam Anahid Doniguian, author of the Armenian Cookbook “Yepelou Arveste” and the London menu has been curated by two-Michelin-star chef Marcel Ravin.
We tried the Cherry Kebab – spiced, charcoaled kebab skewers, covered with a signature cherry sauce. The dish emanated a distinctive sweet, sour, and salty flavour. We ordered the Lusin Kibbeh, prepared with mixed daily-fresh meat, bulgur and nuts, seasoned with distinctive Armenian spices and pomegranate molasses. We also chose the Lusin Salad, assembled with shredded cheese topping, a smoky-baked Aubergine, with vegetables and herbs coulis, shredded cheese and finished with herbs pesto and fresh leaves. Lastly the Sheesh Tawook – grilled skewers of marinated chicken breast with herb Toum sauce was tender, moreish and succulent.
Photos courtesy of Lusin
As Armenia is home to the world’s oldest winery, Lusin celebrates the nation’s affinity to produce fine wines with a grand selection available on its drinks menu. Also cocktails include fresh twists on classics, crafted by mixologist Giancarlo Mancino, official beverage and bar consultant for the Rosewood Hotels worldwide
Lusin Mayfair is the first UK outpost from one of the most successful restaurants companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mira Foods. Mira was founded by hospitality entrepreneur Dr. Mazen Almugbel. The gastronomic concept of Lusin was born out of Dr Mazen’s inspirational travels to Armenia and Lebanon. Mira previously has opened Lusins at “Centria” in Riyadh, Diyafa Plaza Riyadh, Teatro Jeddah and Al Shaikh Avenue Al Khobar.
Photos courtesy of Ming Tang-Evans
In Saudi Arabia, Lusin has notably hosted royals and government officials such as HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, HRH Prince Abdul Rahman bin Musa’id Al Saud, HE Khalid Al Khalifa Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain and the late Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. And trying it out for ourselves, it definitely wasn’t hard to see why Lusin’s delectable gastronomy attracts such high calibre diners.
Lusin Mayfair 16 Hay Hill, London, W1J 8NY.