Lebanese Grill House & Juice Bar
We stopped for lunch at Lona’s Grill House and Juice Bar a couple of Saturdays ago – drawn in by the rather extravagant looking exterior and the promise of authentic lebanese cuisine.
The restaurant, is large – very large. There’s an open grill along the wall at the side with the meat and fish on display so you food is cooked before you eyes.
The centre piece of the restaurant is an exotic looking juice bar. Bursting with colour and adorned with fresh fruit this is really something special.
The juices are a big feature for Lona as the restaurant serves no alcohol. This combined with the kids area in the far corner of the restaurant, means that its a great place for families and we were pleased to see several other families with young children also dining there.
The terrace alone also has room for some 30 people, more than the total number of covers in a small restaurant like Birch. A rather overwhelming menu has almost 100 items of food and 45 different juices, smoothies and milkshakes.
The drinks are all made in a juice bar which is the focal point at the centre of the room, with bunches of grapes hanging off it and terracotta-coloured drapes covering the whole ceiling converging upon it from all four corners. My 'sour lemon' was made from lemon, mint and crushed ice. It was similar to the taste of a caipirinha and was deliciously refreshing. Other drinks have names like 'bunny fiesta' (carrot), 'nude kisses' (orange, banana and strawberry) and 'exam time' (carrot, apple, orange and ginger).
Although it's by no means impossible to find decent Middle Eastern food across the city, Bristol has never really had an all-singing, all-dancing, in-your-face Lebanese restuarants until now, that is.In the past, most Lebanese Restaurants here have tended to be relatively low-key, back- street places, but Lona couldn't be more different. Occupying a huge site on Gloucester Road that used to be a Co-operative supermarket, Lona certainly catches the eye, with its large balustraded terrace and gaudy signs. Step inside this new "grill house and juice bar" and there is a vast open kitchen with a row of chefs slicing meats and kebabs and a spacious dining room, with tiled floor, crazy paving-style terracotta walls, twinkling lanterns and a red and orange Bedouin tent ceiling. In the centre of the restaurant is a green bamboo juice bar with a crudely painted mural of blue skies and fluffy clouds