December 7, 2007

Lebanese Food is no Bologna

For over three months, I've lived in a Lebanese area of London; Edgware Road. I've walked by newsstands with Newspapers from the Persian Gulf. I've passed The Islamic Bank of Britain almost daily. I've looked up to read the names of restaurants that are written in both English and Arabic.

Somehow, I never went in to those restaurants to eat.

With my time in London drawing ever more quickly to a close, I had to atone for that sin as quickly as possible. The easiest way to do so was to eat lunch in an establishment called "Maroush" two doors down from my flat.

Maroush actually has 11 locations in London, according to the information on their menu. The chain was started in 1975, and now has diagram/phrase "We [heart] Maroush" stenciled on the windows. Inside, its pretty classy, not the usual change-in-your-pocket cuisine you're used to reading about in this blog.

For London, though, Maroush isn't expensive, even though its Web site says "a taste of Lebanese luxury in London." After my meal, no doubts twitter in my mind about the high quality of the cousine. It just doesn't come at the same price as luxuries in the Celebrity stomping grounds of Marlybone or Mayfair.

For just under £10 I got a plate of Falafel and a bowl of rice with lamb. Falafel is one of those funny things that some people hate and others simply adore. The quality of Falafel also plays a part, though. I hated the falafel in Syracuse University's dining halls. I loved it at Maroush.

Trying to describe falafel isn't easy. Calling it ground chickpeas and beans that are deep fried just doesn't do it justice. For that matter, it might not even be accurate. Just try it sometime, chances are you'll find it quite good.

The rice and lamb had much less uncertainty. It was, well, rice with chunks of lamb meat. Because of the way it was cooked, the rice became infused with lamb flavor. It might not sound good, but any doubters will be feeling sheepish after they try it.

Sheepish is how I feel for not trying Lebanese cosine earlier. I [heart] Maroush too.

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