Another issue means another Quench Food Evening and it would appear this monthly expedition is turning into an exploration of continental cuisines. Kicking off with Italian, then moving onto quintessentially British, this time around Quench Food is heading to the heat of North Africa and the Middle East (or City Road to those unfamiliar with the use of creative metaphor). Boasting an extensive menu of Lebanese and Moroccan fusion dishes, Mezza Luna is another of the cities independent hidden gems. Hearing nothing but positive praise on the 100% trustworthy review network that is Trip Advisor, we thought we’d have to see what all the fuss is about. And what better way is there to do that than descend on the small restaurant with a 20 strong army of hungry students and put the kitchen staff through their paces. Here’s what our contributors thought…
For those who have trouble in deciding what to order when eating out, Mezza Luna probably isn’t the wisest choice. Every edition on the menu was intriguingly appetising and the dishes seemed to complement each other well, therefore there was a tough decision to be made. Luckily, this is where the mezzo menu saves the day with the option to order a few smaller plates instead of one larger meal such as a tagine or paella-type dish. Although you would have thought a simple Lebanese salad could only taste so good, it was dressed to perfection and every last bit of the bowl was enjoyed. The selection of dips served with beautifully crisp pitta bread were a perfect accompaniment and would have made the perfect starter. Eying up almost every other person’s plate of food with envy and getting the occasional nibble from a friend’s meal, it is safe to say that Mezza Luna has exceeded any taste expectations. Plus the welcoming staff and efficient service means that it will definitely be featuring on my lists of places to return.
Having heard great things about a few of the hidden gems tucked away on City Road I was eager to see what Mezza Luna had to offer. Darting in from the cold December night, I was happy to be quickly seated with a gin and tonic in hand and a plentiful menu to choose from. I chose the lamb shank tagine, all the while wondering if I’d made a bad choice – all too often have I found lamb in restaurants to be tough and unappetising. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lamb was tender and fell off the bone easily while the rest of the tagine complimented it perfectly. After the main course, as I nursed my food baby, we were presented with the pudding menu. Being unable to resist a creme brulee I was intrigued by their version with a hint of saffron. The dessert was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet and certainly satisfied my sweet craving. A great evening was had by all! A big thank you to Anna and the rest of the team at Mezza Luna!
I was slightly apprehensive before my evening at Mezza Luna. Having never really experienced North African cuisine before I didn’t quite know what to expect. But, as ever, they worry was wasted. The first thing I noticed upon entering the City Road eatery was the amazing decor, rustic walls and Moroccan sculptures made for a real authentic feel. The staff were extremely friendly and attentive, and hostess and owner Anna was eager to help us pick the right choice from the extensive menu. I started off with classic humus and pitta bread, and a feta salad which was all delicious. Then after changing my mind several times I chose the lamb couscous for my main meal. When it came I was happily surprised with the large leg of lamb laying on a plentiful bed of couscous and veg. The meat was so tender that it melted in the mouth and although the sauce was quite subtle it meant that nothing overpowered the delicate taste of the lamb. I don’t think I could have asked for a better first Moroccan dining experience, Mezza Luna was the perfect choice to lose my North African virginity.
The Moroccan/Lebanese fusion menu was extremely enticing and the sizeable options to choose from only made it harder for me to make a decision. Opting for the halloumi and spiced sausage mezze to start, I was left slightly disappointed. Although I was expecting the saltiness of the halloumi, it sadly seemed to overpower the delicate flavours of the spiced sausage. Served up in a piping hot traditional tagine dish my choice of meatball tagine for the main course was rich with tomato and onions, successfully offsetting the saltiness of the starter. The meatballs were a lot smaller than expected but flavoursome and tasty nonetheless. I would head to Mezza Luna again but next time opt for the amazing looking couscous my fellow diners were tucking into.