Restaurant review: Maroush
Location: Vere Street (near Bond Street)
I love Lebanese food. When I first moved to London and discovered Yalla Yalla, I returned 3 times in quick succession. I also have fond memories of a restaurant named Le Cedre in Zurich, which is close to where I grew up. Having recently decided to avoid the tube at all costs, I often take a bus that goes down Edgware Road and passes about 50 Middle Eastern restaurants. The conundrum: How would I ever know which one to go to? I asked some of my friends who live locally, and quite a few of them recommended Maroush as the best one. I kept this in the back of my mind, but only made the decision to visit very recently, as Maroush themselves wrote to me on Twitter as a suggestion. Very good Twitter marketing – I booked a table immediately!
When I walked in, I opened my mouth to say ‘I have a reservation for two’, but was immediately cut off with ‘Upstairs please!’ Once my cousin and I had chosen what we wanted to eat, it took a while for the waitress to realise we were trying to catch her eye. There was a slight language barrier as we asked some questions about the food, but we finally placed our order and almost immediately after were presented with a very large, complimentary bowl of vegetables (salad, carrots, peppers, and more); a very pleasant surprise! Our starters consisted of hummus and baba ghanoush, both of which were excellent, although the baked pastries filled with spinach (Fatayer B’sabanekh) were forgettable.
We had not quite finished our starters when our plates were removed and replaced with fresh ones for the main courses. These tasted good, but didn’t have the same effect of overwhelming happiness that I had experienced at Yalla Yalla. The lamb in yogurt sauce (Kafta Yogurtlieh) was an interesting combination, albeit slightly too sour for my liking. However, I was a big fan of the meat-stuffed aubergine, zucchini and vine leaf (Koussa Warak Inab and Stuffed Aubergine), particularly when combined with the vermicelli rice. When we had finished (with lots of leftovers to take home!), our plates were once again replaced wordlessly, despite us not having ordered dessert. We then received an extremely large plate of fruit, which, like the initial vegetables, was unexpected and slightly unnecessary.
Maroush was a good experience, but as far as Lebanese food goes, give me Yalla Yalla every time!