30 April 2018

Maison du Mezzé

Maison du Mezze

As part of the Bentall Centre's modernisation was the opening of Lebanese kitchen Maison du Mezzé, its first restaurant outside of Central London. As I wandered about the shopping centre, its turquoise blue façade caught my eye from a corner on the first floor. A glimpse inside reveals a beautifully decorated dining space, overlooking Clarence Street through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Now, having never flown to the Lebanon, I'm not in a position to qualify whether the décor - or food for that matter - is surely authentic, but that I really enjoyed my experience is perhaps enough to trust as much. From the interior design alone, I was transported to at least my idea of a modern Middle East, including gold inlaid tables, a marble floor, wooden screens and patterned cushions. Then the food arrived, a selection of hot mezzé, and the decor needn't have mattered, because I was elatedly filling my face with the warming and distinctive flavours of each dish.

In front of me were plates of grilled halloumi, chilli prawns, okra in tomato sauce, spicy sautéed potatoes, lamb fatayer, flatbread and hummous. And I'd have ordered even more from the menu, if what I had ordered wasn't already fighting for space. Because what I love about mezzé - and of course the same goes for tapas - is that everybody around the table can try a little bit of everything. Mezzé is sociable cuisine, encouraging the sharing of conversation as much as food.

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