Friday, June 13, 2008

Tomorrow @ Moro

I’m long overdue posting a few restaurant reviews. Laziness, loss of interest, delays in public transport, blah blah blah

The title of the post is an inside joke. You had to be there to get it. It was funny. Needless to say I will not be in Moro tomorrow. Although I sorely wish I could be.

There were (meant to be) 6. For dinner at the famed Moro. To celebrate the temporary return of a friend into our midst. V bowed out as he was already holidaying in India. I was leaving the next night and this was the perfect excuse not to cook for one on my last night in town. I should have been home, choking on a takeaway, tidying up and packing my suitcase in neat layers. But I threw caution to the wind and decided that dinner with friends was a far better idea and that 20 minutes of chucking stuff in a suitcase would just have to do. One set of baggage handlers and cargo hold later it would all in a jumble no matter how neat the layers to start with. (note to self: must do away with digressing AND neat packing fetish)

And then there were 5. And an empty suitcase. And an utterly untidy house. And un-watered plants. But OH SUCH a WISE decision. It was only a Monday but it had been a long Monday, full of meetings and work. A day bent over my desk, thinking of dinner at lunch time. As the work day came to an end and I ambled around Angel in anticipation and in waiting, I hear that one of the 5 diners has had to bow out at the very last minute. She is clearly working far harder than the rest of us. I meet up with two of the other diners and we have plenty of time before our booking beckons us to the table, to sit and gossip in a nearby Café Nero.

And then there were 4. Moro in Exmouth Market, North London. If the reviews were to be believed, this is the holy grail of Spanish food influenced by Middle Eastern cuisine. We met the final member of the dinner party and went in on time for our booked two hour slot. We were promptly seated under a skylight near the kitchen counter, where for once it would be the aroma of some amazing food seeping into our clothes instead of MSG laden Chinese as the door hits your chair each time it opens. A group of four intrepid eaters - one man, who graciously did not pull out when his partner did, and braved being the only man stuck with a gaggle of three women. I now know its mainly in part because of his deep love of Moro food and not our sparkling company!

What can I say about Moro that would do it justice? The menu changes every week and the selection of things for each course is defined by what is seasonal and what strikes the chefs fancy. We saw one of the Sam's at work, pointed out by the only regular at Moro among us. We dipped sour dough bread in olive oil while waiting for our starters and listened to the story of how sour dough is almost human and needs feeding and was even taken on camping trips while one of the girls was but a mere child. Of course the two desi’s not ready to be outdone quickly likened it to the culture for dahi/ yogurt (which its really nothing at all like!). We ate starters, trying each others choices as well. All fresh and wholesome and pretty on the plate but the only one worth mentioning in my book was the cauliflower soup (not my choice sadly) which was divine. Lamb tagine on couscous, mackerel and 2 plates of lemon sole were the choices for our main meal. I won’t go into detail (because my aging memory is failing me!) but what I remember perfectly well was how pleasing a plate of food each one was. Outstanding quality of each ingredient, spiced and salted perfectly, complimentary to its accompaniments and cooked to perfection - each morsel was a perfect delight. While eating non-stop we regaled each other with stories of what life had been like before we met (like the sour dough story), how life was now, just little anecdotes on the humdrum of life, each adding up to the picture of us as individuals and friends.

We were stuffed to the gills, on food, wine and talk. And yet when it came to ordering desert I just could not say no to the Yoghurt cake with Gaziantep pistachios. I had heard so much about this and even tried the home made version (not in my own home of course) that it made sense to resign myself to rolling home. There was to be NO sharing. But of course I wanted to try the rosewater ice cream (disappointing) and was so full that I had to beg (not very hard) other people to finish mine. The yoghurt cake was topped with pistachios and lovely pomegranate seeds. It was utterly moorish and the lemon sabayon made it light and rich all at once. The sour and sweet flavours and smells of the pistachios and pomegranates all mingled perfectly - my taste buds were clearly enjoying the party. Overall I preferred the home made version both for texture and taste but this came a very close second. I could barely lift my hand to sign my credit card slip seeing how sated I was.

And then there were 3. The man, eager to rejoin his partner and find the shortest route home went off in a different direction. Us 3 girls set off for Angel Station and soon found ourselves too full to walk even the last 500 meters. We used the blustering wind as our excuse and took a bus to the station.

And then there was 1. We parted at the tube station, each heading off in a different direction to make full use of our travel cards and get ourselves safely home, out of the blustery wind. Nearly an hour and a train change later I was home, having had to painfully walk the last few minutes home, digesting one of the finest meals of the year so far. No V in our empty home. Just me. With my suitcase yet to pack and my plants yet to water and a plane soon to catch. Full up on food and friendship – two of the most sumptuous things in life.

Needless to say I will not be in Moro tomorrow. I wish I could be. But not long after I promise I will. This time with V. And friends. And I hope I will be using my inside joke again.

You need to book:
Moro: 34 -36 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE. Ph: 020 7833 8336


  1. Anonymous9:06 PM

    I have to live vicariously through you/your blog - Moro sounds so fabulous. I checked out their menu and everything looks (sounds) super interesting. I can only dream of some such place opening in my mid-western hood.

    That yoghurt cake dessert sounds divine! Do you have the recipe for the homemade version?

  2. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Sounds like a fun evening. Game to go there again sometime ?

  3. Anonymous4:00 AM

    ya take me too

  4. need I say this again? I LOVE your foodie posts :)

  5. Anonymous6:34 PM

    Recently found your blog. The food sounds so good but a bit pricey, not so for London, I suppose.

  6. allo, I really enjoy reading your blog, tried Busaba Eathai in Soho thanks to one of your older posts. Will definitely try Moro.

  7. Anonymous6:39 AM

    sour dough, sour doughi (sic)
    same difference yaar.

    (no duress)

  8. Sounds like a great evening ... and a very interesting place. Added it to 'The List' (that's the list of places to be checked out .. which is always growing faster than I can keep up!)

  9. Chalki: It's in the Moro cookbook, which I don't own. It's something I hope to rectify soon. When I do I will send you the recipe.

    SilentOne: It was a fun evening. There are very very few vegetarian options sadly! But I'm almost always game.

    MG: Wo-kay!

    Shub: Aw! Thanks.

    Swati: The food is pricey but most good things in London are. And its a once in a while treat not an everyday evening out....

    Chinchu: Have fun!

    Broom: No duress!

    Pea: It was. Share your list....

  10. Anonymous5:06 AM

    Hi have just recently discovered your blog and really enjoying reading it.