Interior, is a typical industrial look with exposed kitchen. Tables are long with enough with room for your typical Dalston guy on the laptop and groups of friends. All cafes that do not rush you to finish your food and get out get a massive bonus in my books. And Cafe Route is exactly a place like this, tucked it away from busy Kingsland road, it a great spot to grab a healthy meal or very good coffee.
Having spent last few days eating very heavy fried foods, I was pleased with a refreshing vegetable heavy menu at Cafe Route. Their Mediterranean inspired salads were complex, what seemed as minimum eight ingredient mash ups, that delivered very surprising taste combinations. Not to mention extremely generous portions. I had to take half of my main home for nibbles later.
Chicken thigh with roasted pepper, haloumi in flat bread looked very pretty and was delicious! Served with a perfect side of potato wedges, it was a big meal.
Sweet potato with tahini sauce and chickpeas was lovely and soft. Tahini added a touch of earthiness to this dish that i really enjoyed. Refreshing side salad of carrot, red pepper, broad beans was my favorite! Zingy and crispy it was a good contest to the main.
We completed our very long dinner with a cup of strong coffee.
I like this place for it’s simple approach to food, it’s delicious food and easy atmosphere.
Unit A Gaumont Tower, Dalston Square, London
Amongst the flutes of the snake charmers and the drums of the dancing monkeys lies the famous souks of Marrackech. The Medina has restaurants on every corner offering you touristic menus which for foodies like us is the biggest no no especially when you are visiting a country like Morocco. Hidden on the side streets just outside the souks we found the perfect place to dine, with a juxtaposition of styles from modern, Casablanca colonial and historic Morocco and a plethora of good looking Moroccan hosts and hostesses it was a complete contrast to what was happening in the chaos of the souks. Le Salama.
Le Salama was our first eye opening experience of how wrong we were about the country. It was both modern and cool and most importantly hygienic. Such a sexy place to dine with every corner being lit by huge Moroccan lanterns and the novel table settings with Moroccan hats for guest to play with. How fun it was.
The menu was a classic menu full of tagines as you would have expected and assortments of pastries as starters. We visited twice and on both occasions I had the same dish as I had fallen in love with it. Honey and Almond Chicken Tagine. I’m salivating at the thought of it. The chicken was crispy on the outside with a sweet stick layer of honey, not too sweet, the meat flaky off the bone as you touched it. The couscous was the most fluffiest and tastiest couscous I have ever had, nothing like the bland stuff you get at home. Elena clearly experimented with each with visit through the selection of meats that were offered from keftas tagines to lamb shanks. You can really taste the time that goes into these slow cooked dishes, fast food this is clearly not, yet you don’t mind because each spice is so well balanced and cooked through. Hug food as I like to call it.
After dinner we decided to the roof top bar which had a stunning 360 view of Morocco. We were in ore of how much Le Salama had made the start of our holiday magical and it just kept getting better. We appreciated the cool breeze coming in through the windows as we pondered over which cocktails to choose, the 2 for 1 offer put us in a sticky situation. One thing we came to realise through our visit was that the alcohol content in drinks throughout Morocco is very weak so be prepared to shell out quite a lot if you are hoping to feel anything close to a buzz.
If we are ever to return to Marrakech Le Salama will be our first and last meal on every visit.
Star Rating: *****
40 Rue des Banques, Djema el Fna, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Taginnnnnne! Two meaning for this, either you are being told to smile whilst someone is taking a picture of you in the souks of Marrakesh or the other meaning is a slow cooked dish cooked in a tall triangular clay pot. Let’s focus on the food meaning.
I have struggled to find a good Moroccan restaurant in London to tell you the truth and was very skeptical when my friend Shivani recommended Tagine in Balham. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the authentic interior of the restaurant, after spending the summer in Morocco Elena and I have become some what of experts in anything Moroccan.
The food served is exactly what you see being served in Morocco and tastes exactly the same. For starters we had the mixed selection of dips and sausages, the hummus was fresh and to die for. I had the Kefta Tagine for my mains and the meat balls were soft and succulent and were swimming in a mild tangy tomato sauce.
You know me, I’m not one to complain about the price of things but I must say that they are not the prices you would find in Marrakesh. In theory all tagines should come with couscous, makes sense but here you must pay an additional £3.50 for couscous and well it’s not enough to get you through your main.
The starter platter came with three dips and a couple of sausages and cost £15. As delicious as the starter was I’m not sure how I feel about paying that much for vegetables and 2-3 chopped up skinny sausages (spicy and lovely though).
So, delicious food which is authentic but a tad over priced. However, they do give you a free key ring with the bill but then I suppose they must in order to distract you from the realisation of what you are about to pay.
Star Rating: ***
3 Fernlea Rd, London SW12 9RT