My first ever visit to Maroush was a real Middle Eastern, specifically Lebanese experience – delicious cuisine, relaxing dining and belly dancing.
This evening was planned a couple of weeks in advance. Out of the three, one of us had been to Maroush before. We were to be four best friends getting together but alas one was not able to make it that night.
As Tuesday dawned, excitement was in the air. The countdown neared as the sun set behind the rooftops. As usual a part of our city stirs as the nocturnals come out of the woodwork to enjoy the night. As planned, we met in a central place just before 7.00pm, bundled into the car of one of our group and off we drove towards 21 Edgware Road.
I didn’t know what to expect but trusted that all will be great – we were in the hands of someone among us who’d been there before and knew their way around a Lebanese menu. Our very own connoisseur of Lebasnese cuisine. Truth is, I’m really not familiar with Lebanese food except for shish taouk – talk about limited…extremely!
We drove around looking for a parking space and finally after a drive around the area found a parking spot. Believe it or not it was almost next to the restaurant, literally. Now all I can think of was, we were meant to be here.
We walked into the restaurant and wow! I was immediately filled with great delight. In my heart I thanked my two friends for the great company and the great evening that was unfolding. Part of me was also looking forward to my birthday the following day. This to me was a great introduction to my birthday, had an approved day off to celebrate and had made some really exciting plans too.
As we entered the restaurant and in the bar area, the maitre’d immediately identified us as if he were our neighbour. But that was what I expected anyway since I had called ahead about an hour earlier and reconfirmed our dinner reservation. He motioned one of the waitresses to take us downstairs and find a table for three. We looked around and finally settled for a booth facing the stage. We expressed concerns about loud music being so near the stage. But we were promptly assured that the music began at 9.00pm. We figured we’d be out of there before then so perhaps it wasn’t a big deal. We sat down at our table and made ourselves comfortable. I scanned the room. The dining room was conservatively but tastefully laid out. It was clean, friendly and inviting. My mind filled with positive expectation, I looked forward to an enjoyable evening.
We settled down and were given the menus. I needed a lot of guidance to select a dish and finally settled on having a lamb dish…now that was absolutely delish! We also had some vegetarian dishes which were just so tasty. We were all so engrossed in such interesting and exciting conversation that when our meal arrived I forgot to take photos hence no photos of food here. What a pity! The food was amazing. I really enjoyed my skewers of grilled lamb and took one home for a midnight feast. The bread was delicious – light and fluffy.
Time flew by and soon the musicians made their presence heard. At this point in time, we kind of realised intuitively that it was almost time to take our leave of this wonderful place. The drumming and singing had reached a crescendo and I began to notice a lively dance rhythm that could get anyone on their feet. I began to sway unconsciously. Then, all of a sudden I was taken totally by surprise. Oh my gosh, my head screamed. There on the dim-lit floor like an apparition, gliding and gyrating about gracefully was a belly dancer. Hey, I only saw this in the movies. This was ‘live’. This was a live belly dancer and she was dancing near our table. She danced all over the dining room going up to the tables dedicating the dance to the diners at each table. This was the first time ever for me to witness a ‘live’ belly dancing floor show. Boy, did she have a captive audience! I was competing with a couple of guys on other tables in the room trying to take photos of the dancer too. They won and the reason was that my battery slowly died. An amateur photographer’s worst nightmare. There before my very Papua New Guinean, Pacific Island eyes was a Lebanese belly dancer and my battery died! What crossed my mind was better left unsaid. Yeah, you guessed it, unprintable!
This was exotic…very!
We struggled to hear ourselves through the loud music and knew instinctively that it was time to call it a night. One of us was also quite tired. Our evening slowly came to an end and after settling our bill we said our thanks and goodbye to the waitress and headed towards the stairs. As we came up the stairs and out on to the street outside, I took in my surroundings. What a wonderful place, great food, great atmosphere, great company, ambience and of course the belly dancing. It was indeed a memorable Lebanese evening.
We parted company outside the restaurant. All headed off in three different directions and into the night. We promised to hook up again in the not-too-distant future. I went home convinced that I could actually have a Lebanese evening anytime during the working week. I am so grateful to my two close friends for sharing this memorable Lebanese evening together. Definitely, my slice of Lebanon.
For more information on Maroush and wonderful Lebanese cuisine in London visit: http://www.maroush.com