An evening stroll past Harrods is quintessentially British enough to make anyone feel fully submerged in London life. As the lights of the city begin to dazzle amongst an orange-hued sky canvas, the velvet greens of Harrods traditional window displays ooze luxury, providing passers-by which all the photo opportunities they need. My reason for being amongst the beeping horns of London’s Knightsbridge was to visit Mamounia Lounge; the Moroccan-cum-Lebanese staple of the luxurious neighbourhood that has just introduced a new A La Carte menu, also available at the Mayfair outpost.
Wading past happy shisha smokers who sit taking in the air on busy Brompton road, we were swiftly seated just shy of the outdoor breeze. Inside, Mamounia Lounge is dimly-lit, adding to its Middle Eastern allure, with golds and bronzes, swish curtains and patterned mosaics featuring heavily throughout the space. Famed for its entertainment alongside shisha offerings including popular Starbuzz flavours, Mamounia Lounge transports you, Alladin-like, to somewhere foreign, faraway and totally mysterious.
If you’re a sucker for a sharing plate then Mamounia Lounge should be on your list. It’s a real social dining experience with all around the table mucking in to grab luxurious grub. I remember the last time I tried Moroccan food, in Morocco itself no less. Alongside the punchy spices, I remember how the food presentation was alluring too, presented in tajines and rustic, earthy dishes.
Head Chef Thamer Darwish is the man behind the new menu’s magic, offering mezze style dishes that heavily feature nostalgic, childhood dishes passed down to him by his mother. Ready to try a slice of Darwish’s childhood, we opted for the Kadaif Prawns, wrapped with crispy Kadaif pastry, smashed avo and lime and the truffle hummus with creamy pureed chickpeas, whipped with tahini, truffle oil and lemon juice, served with truffles, wild mushrooms, crispy chickpeas and warm Lebanese bread. The prawn starter was packed with a punch and featured an avocado skin brimming with sweet chilli sauce – a sweet touch. The truffle hummus was equally as delicious and wholly rich in flavour.
Swigging down cocktails, a popular feature at Mamounia Lounge – especially the Golden Oasis with fresh watermelon and pineapple shaken with Stoli orange, apple liqueur and vanilla essence – we moved swiftly onto the main event. In keeping with tradition, I went for a Moroccan staple; the Kafta Tagine with spiced lamb meatballs and crispy turkey bacon served in a tomato sauce. It was just what the doctor ordered; rich and flavoursome but left little room for dessert, much to my companion’s amusement.
The icing on the cake for her was in fact the Arabic milk pudding with date molasses, rose water and caramelised pistachios. Meanwhile, I played it safe with one of Mamounia Lounge’s bestselling dishes; the chocolate fondant with a gooey centre, served up with vanilla ice-cream. The desserts served their purpose, being both delicious and utterly filling. Although sat writing this now, I could totally eat it all over again…
If your eyes are at times bigger than your belly, then you may find it slightly arduous to share these hot and cold mezze offerings, although we say don’t let your insatiable appetite put you off. This London must-visit has really upped and already ‘up’ game with its latest Arabic A La Carte offering, offering dishes which are as stylish as the staple itself.
Find Mamounia Lounge amongst the midst of it all at 136 Brompton Road, SW3 1HY, www.mamounialounge.com