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|Address:||10 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YP|
|Tel:||020 3589 2126|
|Price: £48.00||Wine: £21.95||Champagne: £40.95|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-10.30pm (Sat 5pm- )|
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I went last night with two other friends on a 50% off deal. From the beginning I concur with what others say below, the atmosphere is great and entirely different from the usual suspects available in this area of the city. Rich terracotta walls, beads, brass and fabrics. Incense as you come to the bottom of spiral sand coloured stairs and roses and floating candles when you open the door. This is all after a few brass lamps with tea lights and a heavy looking wooden door at the end of a ‘red carpet’. Once inside, belly dancers appeared around 9pm and people started to get up and dance with them – think lecherous, over confident investment bankers and secretaries who clearly drank too much before they arrived. It was entertaining and if you're on a first date with someone it certainly provides a talking point.
The negatives are that the place is hugely overpriced. I regularly eat and cook arabic food. This overpriced theme appears here and there in arabic food places and the argument is often because the food is fairly labour intensive and the ingredients are often not in season and not native to the UK in any event. However at Kenza this argument carries little weight as you are clearly paying for atmosphere and not food. This defeats the purpose of a restaurant in my view where the atmosphere should be secondary to the food; if you feel differently you may find it cheaper to eat at the Rainforest Cafe.
We were given crudites as we sat down. We ordered the mezze at £35 a head each (pre 50% cull) and enjoyed it but I am glad that I was on the 50% deal or else I would have really worried as to where the money went. This mezze mix included 5 different starters, pitta bread which kept being refilled and assorted dips. For mains we had baby chicken, mixed grill of lamb and chicken and a salmon dish on which we remarked that we're glad we had the other stuff there as it paled in comparison to the other mains – tasty but not astonishing. The desserts arrived in a brass, high tea like tower (think the Ritz, Browns) which included an assortment of fruit, turkish delight, pistachios and a few baklava. There was also great ceremony as our waiter poured hot sweetened water into glasses with a scattering of mint leaves. The drinks are again overpriced I think and the service charge was as large as our drinks bill (we had 2 GTs, 2 bottled beers and 1 diet coke between three). This particularly bothered me as the service was kind but it is easier to crash a wedding than to make eye contact with the waiters. It was fairly busy in our section I'll give them that AND they had to negotiate their way around the voluptuous dancers.
Would I go back again? Debatable. I would go on the 50% off. I think there are a lot of other places which surpass this place in terms of food – and in terms of arabic food. The atmosphere is great but if you have been to something like Buddha Bar then you'd probably seen it before and on a bigger scale. I won't go back in a hurry but it was certainly a fun thing to do on a Thursday night.