Mamounia, a small town in northern Algeria, a plush world class hotel in Marakech or the newly refurbished Mamounia Lounge lying near the fabulous Shepard’s Market on Curzon Street? Well the latter it was…
The first thing you see you get when walking up to the restaurant is the people gathered outside smoking the Shisha pipes. If any of you have had the pleasure of going to Turkey you’ll know this definitely adds to the atmosphere, but the food is where it’s at in this blend of Morocco and the Lebanon.
Greeted by impeccable service from the outset we were led downstairs to the restaurant… (But for those just wishing a drink off the extensive cocktail menu the lounge bar upstairs won’t be disappointing either).
We chose a glass of Prosecco to start off whilst watching some of the live music laid on (A regular activity on Friday and Saturday nights there), with the chaps behind the keyboards and guitar contributing to that genuine feeling of Arabia.
We sat down reading the varied menu, and were aided by the waitresses showing passion and knowledge about the choices on offer to us. It has to be said that there is a good touch in the menu where some of the more unusually named items on offer have a page of definitions available. Nice.
To start we chose the Sausage tasting platter with a selection of three different sausages and a portion of Moutabel (Smoked Aubergine Puree with Tahini, Garlic and Lemon Juice Topped with Pomegranate Seeds Served with Hot Homemade Pita Bread), and for mains we chose Chicken Shawarma and Lamb Shank Tagine – we also got side orders of the Mamounia Special Rice – (Brown Rice fried with Chermoula, Garlic Butter, Peppers, Pine Nuts and Parsley) and Homemade buttered Couscous.
The sausage platter was a triumph, three fabulous different sausages Makanek (Lebanese Sausage), Merguze (spicy north african sausage) & Sojuk Sadah (a spicy turkish sausage) – all made with different spices like cumin, sumac, garlic and mint. Sprinkle some lemon juice over them all, and kick back for a party in your mouth. Lovely. The Moutabel dish with fresh flat breads also hit the target – of course using the bread to scoop and mop up the puree’d Aubergine and pomegranates.
Along with the live music, (with a belly dancer being added to later) the mains struck all the right chords. The Chicken had a terrific balanced spiciness to it, and the lamb was falling apart with very little effort. The side dishes of the rice, and the couscous accompanied perfectly.
Finishing off with a lively and rich dessert of Chocolate fondant, strawberries and terrific home made ice cream really rounded off the meal well. We were at this point wonderfully full, so it does have to be said with the portions being so generous, those with slightly less of an appetite might be happy with less that what we went for. With dishes on offer from all over the Arabian Med it doesn’t seem likely many will be disappointing.
Overall you feel nicely spoilt like you’re being looked after by good hosts. The music is not overly noisy or intrusive, but along with the aforementioned belly dancer, very entertaining. The whole place was bustling with people and the mixed, exotic flavours demonstrate chefs with a good knowledge of Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine. There are also a very wide range of vegetarian options so this is definitely a venue for all-comers.
Definitely worth a visit, especially on the weekend.
£40-50 per head inc wine
0207 629 2211
37a Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, W1J7TX