When Sam and Samantha Clark opened Moro back in 1997 it made headlines as a pulsating Moorish innovator, and more than 20 years down the line it’s lost none of its seductive allure for a mixed crowd of Clerkenwell creatives, tourists and inquisitive diners.
A zinc-topped bar and crammed pavement tables ensure that the high-decibel show keeps rocking, although nothing can surpass the sheer palate-tingling excitement of Moro’s brilliant and deceptively simple fusion of earthy Spanish and North African food.
It’s all about intoxicating spicing, fine ingredients and subtly matched but forceful flavours, from pan-fried calf’s liver with caçik, currants and walnuts to mixed vegetable mezze or char-grilled turbot with spinach and a melange of braised tomato, muscatel raisins and pine nuts.
The wood-fired oven works its magic on chicken, pork belly and grey mullet (perhaps served with prawn and seaweed ‘fideous’), while the charcoal grill blasts out the likes of lamb with fattoush salad, tahini sauce and red chilli or pork belly with pistou, ‘angel hair’ potatoes and watercress. To finish, everyone drools over the luscious Malaga raisin ice cream, although the delectable yoghurt cake with pistachios and pomegranate is also worth a punt.
If you’re feeling really casual and laid-back, however, we suggest heading to the bar for plates of Syrian-style lentils, patatas bravas with allioli and other irresistible tapas hits. The back-packing wine list shows the same geographical allegiances as the menu, but also note the serious slate of sherries. In short, Moro delivers “quality and service every time” at prices that are never intimidating.