Sam and Samantha Clark’s Ibero-Moroccan institution is the beating heart of Exmouth Market, and more than 18 years down the line, its tantalisingly exotic, ‘lovingly cooked’ food feels more relevant than ever. You might begin in Turkey with a ‘village soup’, before crossing to north Africa for char-grilled lamb with méchouia and harissa, although everyone has their favourite – perhaps cuttlefish, grilled pepper and cauliflower salad or fabulous wood-roasted chicken with green olive,almond and chilli with tomato salsa. For dessert, look to drool-inducing Moro classics such as Malaga raisin ice cream or yoghurt cake with pistachio and pomegranate. ‘It’s not fancy and trendy’, yet the noisy, action-packed dining room with its crackling buzz and smoky aromas wafting from the open kitchen remains achingly and unselfconsciously cool – ‘like going to a friend’s house… a friend who is an absolute dynamo in the kitchen!’ raves one admirer. The wine cellar’s great, too: thoughtfully organised and proudly Iberian.
Unsurprisingly, the focus here is entirely on Iberian wines. In fewer than 100 bins, it takes you from Lisbon to Priorat, adding 26 sherries. As well as tasting notes (for most), every wine is rated 1-5 (whites) and 6-10 (reds) to give an idea of style and weight.
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