Mamounia Lounge is as glamorous as ever, offering visitors the chance to indulge in a delectable feast of Arabic cuisine.
It’s hard not to notice Mamounia Lounge as you stroll down Curzon Street. After dark, the Ferraris and Lamborghinis parked outside are an immediate giveaway and hint at the kind of clientele that flock to this Mayfair establishment. The dark façade of the exterior and the pink and red lights glowing from the upstairs bar give a somewhat seedy first impression but once you descend into the restaurant itself, an intimate dining room presents itself, allowing you to blend in with the other, well-heeled diners.
The room is spectacularly lit; the colours pulsate and flow into each another in almost hypnotic fashion and you’ll find yourself admiring certain design elements such as the curved wall, which runs down an entire side of the restaurant.
This is a venue that people go to to have a good time. It’s not just about the food and with live music, shisha and even belly dancers on a Friday and Saturday night, Mamounia transports visitors into an opulent world of excess. Given the exclusive Mayfair location, you can expect a wealthy crowd who are looking for something different, but diners here know how to have a good time and as a result there is a lack of stuffiness about the place, which is very welcome indeed. The venue really comes into its own at around 8.30pm, so book a later table if you can as it’s relatively quiet up until then.
The main aim of Mamounia Lounge is to offer an authentic Arabian experience and their menu very much reflects this. A vast selection is on offer and, at first, in can be overwhelming. A good place to start would be the mezze dishes, which are small but incredibly tasty plates designed to share. You can go hot or cold, light or heavy, and vegetarians are very well catered for also. The halloumi cheese (£7) is a grilled delight, and although great on its own, it makes for a perfectly squeaky accompaniment to pretty much every other mezze dish on offer. For something a little more filling, the sausage tasting platter (£9) is a great sharer, and provides you with a selection of Arabic sausages, each one as delicious as the last.
For the main courses, meat is king, and this is where vegetarians will miss out slightly. If you are of the carnivore variety however, you will be spoilt for choice and the selection is admirable. Of the many lamb dishes on offer, the Meshoui (£15 for one/£27 for two) is a sure-fire highlight. Slowly roasted for eight hours, the shoulder of lamb is marinated in Moroccan spices and served with fresh fruit and a bowl of intense bouillon alongside it. The whole dish is packed full of flavour and the tender lamb works incredibly well with the orange, dates and apricot it is served with. The bouillon deserves a special mention; it’s a powerful broth that, when spooned over the lamb, creates an intensity that is truly addictive.
As well as the impressive number of charcoal grill dishes on offer, a range of authentic tagines prove to be very popular at Mamounia, and with good reason. Brought out in traditional ceramic cooking pots, these steaming dishes are as theatrical as they are delicious.
Unlike the main menu, the dessert offering lacks variation and unless you like to finish your meal with large quantities of (albeit very fresh) fruit (£9 - £20), then there isn’t much to choose from. The Mahalabia (£6) is an authentic Arabic milk-based dessert and while it is pleasingly light, it’s far from exciting and survives only because of the crunchy pistachio nuts with which it is served. The baklava (£7.50) unfortunately doesn’t improve, as it’s too heavy and dry, although the portion is very generous, so you can guarantee you won’t leave hungry.
Given that this place is somewhat of a party destination, it is only fitting that a large number of fine Champagne is on offer, ranging from a not-inexpensive Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial (£55) to a very special bottle of Cristal Rosé (£800). A selection of wines are available by the glass or bottle but it might be worth spending a little extra as the entry level bottles, especially the Gaio Bianco, Catarratto (£19) are not overly impressive. The cocktail list should be explored however, and Mamounia have put their own twist on a number of classics, such as the Mamounia Mojito, which ditches the lime and mint, utilising four different fruits instead.
The Last Word
Successfully offering a taste of Arabia in the heart of Mayfair, Mamounia Lounge is a stimulating blend of exciting food and rapturous entertainment, topped off with an intimate and friendly atmosphere that goes down well with both locals and those from further afield.