Lebnani will ‘curate distinct dining experiences that tell a story about Beirut, Lebanese culture or cuisine, while celebrating the bounty of premium ingredients available both locally and from Lebanon’.
Sourcing much of its produce from Surrey and Sussex farms, Lebnani will be casual but pitched at a slightly higher level than Yalla Yalla.
Youssef will oversee the project as executive chef on behalf of an overseas investor.
The menu will include aranabit (roasted cauliflower with tahini, harissa and sumac labne); Lebanese moussaka (roasted aubergine with tomato ragu, chickpeas, and mint); and roasted Surrey beef shawarma (overnight marinated beef with baharat, sumac tatbila salad, and tahini).
In 2017 Youssef joined Maison Libanaise in Hong Kong as executive chef. He will divide his time between the two venues.
The Beirut-born chef opened Lebanese street food restaurant Yalla Yalla in Soho in 2009 following a stint at high-end London Lebanese restaurant Fakhreldine.
Yalla Yalla received positive reviews including from Time Out London, which recognised Youssef’s sawda djej, a chicken liver dish glazed in pomegranate molasses, as one of The Best 100 Dishes in London in 2012
Youssef left the business in 2016. Yalla Yalla now operates two locations in central London and is owned by Comptoir Libanais boss Tony Kitous.