Then I found Honey & Co.
Honey & Co. is a gem tucked away in Fitzrovia that serves incredible food from the Middle East. The surrounding neighbourhood offers a plenitude of trendy restaurants and proper London boozers packed to the rafters, but it is this sweet restaurant I would visit time and time again.
It may serve exotic and flavoursome food, but the decor is simple and pretty. The clean white walls and subtle spotlights encourage the bright colours of the food and red wine to really pop and also showcase the intricately tiled indigo floor. Candles in deep magenta holders burn brightly, yellow flowers in food cans from far flung places places bloom cheerfully and crimson pomegranates fill big bronze bowls. White shelves are lined neatly with delicious homemade delights you can take away - from citrine preserved lemons to candy pink-labelled bottles of rosewater.
The food is stunning and gorgeously comforting. I would wholeheartedly recommend the Luxury Meze as a starter to share - little portions packed full of flavour that deliver a taste of heaven with each mouthful. The meze includes homemade pickles and juicy kalamata olives, marinated salty feta and homemade rustic hummus with spiced lamb (or without if you are a veggie, like me) and Alexandria style falafel with green tahini - all so deliciously satisfying you are nearly defeated at the first course. Main courses though are equally as impressive; I had the Lebanese Moussaka created with baked violet aubergines in a rich tomato sauce and gooey goats cheese and my dining partner had the Lamb, Chard and Chickpea Stew with cumin, lemon and yoghurt to delight his palate. Homemade cakes and pastries glisten temptingly on the counter, but it is hard to find room. I don't think it will be long though before the orange blossom cake seduces me.
The service is warm, cheerful and friendly and although the restaurant can be described as compact and intimate, this only adds to the appeal. The last time I visited with my husband, we chatted away to our fellow diners over strong, bitter coffee and left saying a warm goodbye to our new friends.
Dining at Honey & Co. is like experiencing the sights, sounds, and intoxicating scents of the Middle East - then stepping out of the door and boom, there in all its majesty is London Town.
What could possibly be sweeter than that?