An up-and-coming Lebanese restaurant in a south Essex High Street has been shortlisted for a major restaurant award just months after undergoing a renovation.

Layalina in Billericay High Street serves an exciting blend of Lebanese cuisine alongside Greek and Middle Eastern flavours.

The restaurant was shortlisted for the Muddy Stilleto’s Best Essex restaurant award two days ago, being praised for its incredible service and authentic blend of cuisine which bosses believe diners in Essex may find hard to come across.

The nomination comes just months after a renovation saw an eye-catching flower display added to the outside of the restaurant, a garden created and the interior of the restaurant overhauled.

Manager Adam Beatson said the nomination “means everything” to the restaurant and to its staff, with him seeing it as a victory in the battle to get eyes on what is considered one of the towns “best kept secrets”.

Adam, 34, said: “We are a newcomer to the High Street, the next closest way to try Lebanese food would be to go to London.

“This nomination means everything to us, even this long down the line, there are people who have just found out about us.”

The restaurant has been open for a year-and-a-half but has been more popular than ever after renovating at the start of the year.

Adam added that the main thing that gets people through the door is the unique food offering they present on the High Street.

“First and foremost, we are about our food and our flavours, that is what brings people backs and we have a great drink offering as well.

“We get those familiar faces, we remember faces, people’s favourite food, the way they like their steak and their favourite drinks.

“We try to keep the standards high, from the water we provide at the table to the most expensive wines and cocktails.

“People in Billericay appreciate the difference we provide, they can’t believe they are so lucky, and we have recently renovated so we have a garden and a green space too that even some regulars don’t know about.

“We put out flowers on our shop front to make more people aware.”

Adam, who is from Sheffield, took over as store manager shortly after the restaurant opened and considers the restaurant’s signature dishes to be their mixed grill, beef Shawarma and deep fried prawns, served in a smoky aubergine sauce.