Sunday, 13 July 2008


We were wandering around Malasaña yesterday, and happened upon an Arabic restaurant round the corner from Plaze de Dos de Mayo. It looked very pleasant, so in we went. The lack of customers should have sent us a signal - this was three o'clock on a sunny Saturday afternoon, so the place should have been busy.

We ordered hummus, tabbouleh, lamb tagine and lamb couscous. Waiting for the food to arrive, I began to feel a bit nostalgic for our Middle East days. But the food soon cured that. The hummus had cumin in it, but it was ok. The tabbouleh was 80% burghul with a few flecks of parsley and mint, the reverse of the quantities that I'm used to. Never mind, I thought, maybe that's how they do it in Morocco. I imagined they'd definitely be able to do an authentic tagine - a rich, spicy, zingy, meaty stew.

So I almost fell off my chair when the waiter removed the conical ceramic lid from my dish. There was a small lamb shank, surrounded by chips. No vegetables, no sauce, no spice and definitely no zing. It was just unbelievable.

However, it's inspired me to go hunting for the ingredients of hummus and tabbouleh so I can make my own - in Dubai I would usually have a bowl of one or the other in the fridge: it's good healthy stuff, has a reasonable fridge-life, and goes with more or less anything.


Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

Take a trip over to Barcelona...LOADS of great Lebanese places since so many Lebanese have settled there.

alexander... said...

Well, you know where to find the recipes if you need 'em!!!


fatima said...

that s how i make my own humous . I tried some in a Lebanese restaurant but it tasted Bland . so when i added cumin and more lemon juice it tasted wonderful .

i also hate the huge amount of parsley in the original authentic tabboule , that s why i avoid it in most Lebanese restaurant . But i once bought it in a supermarket and was wonderful , it had 80% burghul and that s how i liked it . there was a hint of parsley and mint , not overpowering and since then i make me at home.

roast Lamb in morocco , cooked in a tajine is often served with potato fries , but the restaurant should have had a variety of vegetables and there is definitely a thick sauce that should be at the bottom of the tajine . shame