Damn you, third year; who wants to work when you can eat stuff. What better way to spend the first weekend back after a rather productive Easter, I thought, than to sack Aesthetics off (admittedly, that's not difficult) and have a long lunch with my favourite bearded fellow. It's for the good of the internet readership population, I thought. I'm glad you agree, internet.
Having already sampled the delights of La Cafetiere and L’Oranaise many a time we settled on that other stalwart of student Middle Eastern cuisine, Moorish. Besides the naff sandwich board propped up outside, décor was Arabic business as usual; low seats ordained with complicated patterns in the dark wood, once-bright cushions now faded with cigarette smoke heaped everywhere, very dark interiors with unlit candles on all the tables. Lovely.
We both decided on a bourek each, it being Moorish's 'trademark dish,' and we were not disappointed. My tuna parcel had been marinated in harissa but had a good layer of goat's cheese to temper the spices, resulting in every mouthful initially not being too spicy but leaving a good kick at the back of the throat. G's lamb bourek was more herby and kofta-esque, but had good even flavours. The salad that came with it was sublime; red and yellow tomatoes on spinach with red onion, and a vinaigrette that was so lemony it should have overpowered but instead just brought out the sweetness of the tomatoes. Oh god, I could have eaten that salad all day.
Now, the sides. Hummus, good (and probably homemade). Harissa, good. Checkchouka, flippin' excellent. Then the tabbouleh. Whenever I go to a Middle Eastern restaurant I make a point of trying the tabbouleh because it was my favourite Lebanese dish as a child, and I've been trying to find one in Leeds that lives up to the glory of my Grandma's recipe. Admittedly, the Lebanese way to do it is to completely drown it in lemon but it’s their dish, god damn it, and that's just how it is. The best so far has been La Tranquillité in town, but I will post my Grandma's recipe up later this week.
I don't care if Moorish has an Algerian take on Arabic cooking, one of the main ingredients in tabbouleh is tomato (everyone knows that, god) and there was NO TOMATO. Not even a cherry tomato sitting in the middle. Just none at all. It was wrong. G, the uncultured pleb, absolutely loved it.
The tabbouleh was a real shame, because everything else about the meal was above par by a mile. The chefs gave us knowledgeable, efficient service, a free pot of mint tea and some Turkish Delight on the way out. The baklava they made us for dessert was some of the freshest I've ever eaten. They were still warm; syrup spilt all over the plate, our pistachios overfloweth, rosewater seeped out of the pastry when we bit into it. Drool. We also shared a crème brulée which G professed was the 'second best crème brulée he had ever eaten.' Considering our dessert intake, that's more than a compliment.
Apart from the Abominable Tabbouleh, I would heartily recommend this place. Price tag for mains, sides, desserts and drinks was £15 per head, which we felt was perfectly reasonable. Happy Loan Day, one and all. Now stop worrying about your finals and go spend some of that well earned, essentially free money (for now).
225 Hyde Park Road
Leeds, West Yorkshire LS6 1AH
0113 275 3244