Meejana opened its doors in April 2007 in Weybridge, Surrey. It is owned and operated by Rita Cherfan and Edward Terry who have a varied and extensive experience behind them. Meejana blends traditional elements using the best quality ingredients to make its mezze (small dishes) as well as modern elements and ‘secret’ family recipes from the heartlands of Lebanon to delight and also develop the perception of Lebanese cuisine beyond its traditional ethnic stereotype.
We make everything fresh-to-order using real, high quality ingredients. We go to market ourselves and ensure we get the best ingredients, and we deal directly with our butchers to select natural meats. No hormones. No bulking. We believe the health benefits (as well as the taste) is worth the little extra time and expense.
Rita also spent two years combing the towns and villages of Lebanon, accompanied by her good Finnish friend Tuula, speaking with town elders and discovering hidden stories including the origin of some of the most famous dishes of Lebanon and the Levant. Coupled with family recipes handed down to her from her mother and aunts, she has an extensive repertoire of traditional and original dishes from Lebanon.
Did you know, for example, that every village has their own variation of the lamb Kibbeh? Or that different regions of the Levant use different herbs in Kibbeh Labanieh? Or the Egyptians eat Foul Moudammas for breakfast with a boiled egg? Or pizza originated in the Ajines (oven-baked doughs) of the Levant? Or even that Fajitas are the Mexican equivalent of Shawarma created by Lebanese settlers using local ingredients? Or that Lebanese baklava are not dripping in honey like the Greek or Turkish varieties?
We might not tell you our secrets over dinner, but we may just pass on a few juicy morsels.
The Lebanese half of the team and executive chef. Rita’s experience is varied and includes a period of time as a flight attendant in First Class on MEA, running her own interior design business in the Middle East to high net-worth clients, running the family jewellery business in Knightsbridge, and now channelling her passion for culinary excellence into Meejana. She believes food should be made using proper ingredients without substitute. This makes for both a healthy and nutritious meal as well as promoting the excellence of Lebanese gastronomy.
The English half of the team and marketing & operations director. Edward’s experience includes many years as an event manager for both corporate functions and theatrical productions (including some charitable work), a software project manager, and more recently ran his own web design agency working with a number of prominent Lebanese restaurants in London. He believes service is a key part of hospitality and inspires the team to provide the level of excellence the cuisine demands and what a true restaurant should offer – to restore the spirits of the guest.