30-32 Vanston Place, Fulham Broadway
LONDON, SW6 1AX
Telephone: 020 7386 0086
Fax: 020 7610 1661
Aziz was the site for our launch party. And what a party it was. The glitz, the flashing bulbs, the red carpet, the paprazzi…baby, we had the works. After an hour of posing for the photographers and signing autographs our cheeks were sore and our eyes were seeing dancing bright spots. Who knew fame could be so exhausting?
Flushed and breathless from the excitement, we waltzed into the restaurant. We were greeted by a friendly waitress who immediately made us feel at ease. She led us to our table. We were very impressed by the plush cosy interior complemented by soft lighting. The whole feel was very Northern African/Eastern Mediterranean. At the front of the restaurant is a bar and immediately in front of that, is a comfortable lounge area where you can have cocktails before moving onto dinner (shisha is also available). To the back of the restaurant is an unobtrusive open kitchen area.
The wine list is very extensive, with helpful descriptions to aid our decision. Prices ranged from £12 to as high as you wanted to. We ordered a bottle of red to calm us down. We chose the Esteva, Casa Ferrerinha 2001. A Portuguese wine, reasonably priced at about £15 kicked our evening off. It was light and fruity with a hint of spice. A very good wine to complement our food.
The menu was equally comprehensive and boogled the mind with numerous choices. There was also a set menu for £25, which included an entrée, main and dessert course. Very good value. However, we wanted to be carefree and hazardous in our choices. A Russian roulette if you will.
A waitress came around three times with a heavy bread basket laden with an assortment of freshly baked white, brown and pitta bread. They provided complimentary olives and olive oil with sesame to dip it in.
The starters were divided into cold and hot mezzes. We ordered the Baba Ganoush (£3.50). Served chilled it was definitely the star dish of the night. Perfectly blended cooked eggplant with spices…my salivary glands are churning at the thought of it. A definite must. We scooped it up with the pitta bread, leaving none to waste.
The minced lamb and apricot keftas boreck was tasty, I thought. The cheese in the mint and kasaar cheese boreck was a little “too cheesy”…but enjoyable to experience something different.
For mains, I had the tagine of duck with apples and dates. Impressively presented in an earthware pot with a lid, steam gushed out as the waitress lifted the top. The duck was tender and delicious, although there were parts that were a bit dry. The succulent meat was wonderfully complemented by the pureed apple and softened dates. This dish doesn’t come with any carbs, so it might be an idea to have a side-order of rice, or snatch your partner’s rice (as I did). Not necessary, but don’t expect this dish to fill you up.
Prince consort had the lamb shank ‘Ihem Lahlou’ for £13.50. This was perfectly cooked in preserved lemon, cinnamon, cardamom, onion and tomato (I copied this from the menu). The shank was perched upon a mound of bejewelled rice. If you’re not a fan of currents or raisins (as the The Other Hag and prince consort aren’t) – beware of the bejewelled rice. They would have preferred it if there were less raisins. Just enough to flavour the rice, but not too much to over-power it. Nevertheless, the prince consort still enjoyed his meal.
The Other Hag and The Man shared the Zerda Plata for two (£25). It came on a wooden board. It comprised of braised lamb shank (which looked identical to the one the prince consort had), grilled merguez sausage, mini lamb and chicken kebab. This came with a choice of two side dishes. They chose the bejewelled rice and golden roasted vegetables. Both of the side dishes were generous in portions. The vegetables especially, deserves a Big Up.
For desserts, The Other Hag and I shared the pannacotta with a sesame base, sprinkled with fine nuts on the top. I loved it. The Other Hag however, isn’t a great fan of sesame, but loved the pannacotta. A thoroughly refreshing dessert. The Man opted for a cocktail, Bloody Mary. Hot damn, it was so hot and spicy, we were bracing ourselves for bloody diarrhoea the next day.
Towards the end of our meal, the lights dramatically dimmed, almost to darkness. Hush descended. Did the restaurant forget to pay for their electricity bill? As I made a mental note to slam the restaurant for providing third world conditions, something made me change my mind. A well-endowed, brown-haired, beautiful belly-dancer adorned in blue materialised in-front of us. Loud Arabic music rattled our senses and then she began to shake her bootie. She surprised us with the dexterity in which she could mobilise her mammary glands up and down (much in the way The Rock can move his tits up and down). Truly amazing stuff. She gave prince consort a private royal dance. I tried to take pictures but a) they were too dark and b) I was afraid of scaring her away with the ultra-bright lights on my mobile. The prince consort nodded his head in time with the beat, with a slight smile and drool on his face as she did her thang (did he lick his lips?). She went to each table in turn to dazzle them with her talents. She dragged a few unsuspecting diners, to teach them her booby trick. Alas, they were crap.
We left the restaurant feeling exhilarated. What a perfect night for a launch party. Good ambience, food, wine and entertainment to boot. We only paid about £25 per person (and that included a bottle of wine to share and three cocktails) – pretty good huh? We signed a few more autographs for the fans and made our way to the Sugar Hut. A perfect end to a perfect evening.
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