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A much-loved mainstay on Edgware Road, the Maroush empire comes in many guises. The larger restaurants, Maroush I & Maroush Gardens, are good for lingering, with belly dancing or live music
frequently on offer. For a more low-key version – & smaller price tag, too – make a beeline for the café-like surrounds of Maroush IV, Ranoush, or Beirut Express. All serve a similar line of
Lebanese mezze bursting with fragrance & flavour, from cold plates of tabbouleh & kibbeh (raw minced lamb, cracked wheat, onion & parsley) to warm falafel or sautéed chicken livers.
They also offer excellent fatoush (a lemony salad dressed with mint, parsley & pieces of toasted flatbread), & marinated chicken or lamb from the grill is always a safe bet. The quality of
cooking can always be relied on, but standards of service vary according to the location.
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16 November 2012
Go here for the food, not the atmosphere. Maroush (and indeed many of its peers) on the Edgware Road work superbly well not just because of the food but also becuase of the atmosphere. I (and I would imagine many other ‘western’ diners) go here because of its authenticiy: the clientele is predominantly Middle Eastern, the conversation lively, the pace frenetic and the whole experience somewhat akin to being thrust into a much more local environ. By contrast, Maroush on Vere Street felt positively sterile at lunchtime, fewer than half the tables occupied and those which were, largely by enterprising middle-aged shoppers seeking distraction or more excitement than that afforded by the nearby department stores. It you are in the area and want Middle Eastern to eat, then definitely do go. The food is amazing. My dining comrade and I have eaten in many similar restaurants both in London and in the Middle East itself and there are few places that make either a better hummus (go for the ‘Beiruty’ – with chilli and garlic) or fuul (cooked and mashed fava beans served with olive oil and garlic). Just eat the mezze, no need for mains. I could go on: the moutabal (aubergine puree), mouhamara (spicy walnut paste), the kibbeh shameyieh (deep-fried lamb meatballs) are all superb. Throw in as much bread and as many pickles as you could eat (a lot in my case) and one is in a form of culinary heaven.
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