By Tania Farias
Trying new flavours is always an exciting experience and when somebody asked me if I have ever eaten Palestinian food, I realized I have never tried it. So, I went to the internet to look for a Palestinian restaurant and found Maramia Café – It seems to be one of the first restaurants in London offering this kind of cuisine.
Located at the end of the Portobello Market in Nothing Hill, Maramia café is a cosy place, with a beautiful terrace for the sunny days. As we went there for dinner, we went straight inside. The owner received us with a cordial welcome and offered us to seat close to the window. The place was nicely decorated with pictures from Jerusalem, gorgeous Palestinian women and comfy red cushions on the Arabian sofa style. Don’t forget the music from Palestine to recreate even more the ambiance.
For the starter, I went for the Foul Medames, a dish prepared with mashed broad beans, green chili, garlic, and tahini and lemon juice. My husband chose the Arayes, grill pita bread filled with lamb, nuts, and cinnamon. We both asked for maramia tea (a tea with sage herbs from Palestine).
As we waited for our saucers we could feel the condiments filling the room, and we sipped the maramia tea, with its reddish-brown colour, very intense smell and quite bitter flavour. I was curious about our starters. The foul Medames had a strong taste, the chili and the lemon dominated the dish. Its acid taste reminds me some Lebanese dishes I have tried before. On the other hand, the Arayes had a soft taste contrasting completely with the one of the Foul Medames.
As main course, we had Chicken Musakhan, one of the specialties of the house prepared with grilled chicken, onions, pine nuts and sumac all of these ingredients wrapped in a handmade bread accompanied with a fresh salad; and a Lamb Lahnem, prepared with grill lamb in a handmade bread and salad by the side.
To finish, the owner of the restaurant offered us a delicious dessert. A slice of hot and soft Hilba – a Palestinian cake with fenugreek, anise and honey; and a slice of Basbouse, cook with semolina and coconut. It was an excellent way to finish our diner.
Despite many of the flavours were not totally new for us, since the narrow link the Palestinian cuisine have with some of the countries nearby, we enjoyed our saucers; they were well cook, spicy and generous. Furthermore, I discovered the taste of a new spice: the sumac. This was present in any dish we ordered. With a slight lemon taste and a hint of lavender, this spiey seasoned the dishes.
With a friendly service, sometimes a little bit long, good prices – we paid less than £40 for both – and a nice location, Maramia Café is an excellent place to have a meal. A bit of Palestine in the middle of London.
48 Golborne Road – London W10 5PR
Transport Westbourne Park / Ladbroke Grove – tube
Telephone 020 3181 0030
Opening time from 8:00 am to midnight
Main courses £9.95-£12.95
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