I've long wanted to try Moro, a restaurant which has a reputation in London for excellent Moorish (North African/Middle Eastern influenced Spanish) food. I own both cookbooks and have been using them for years; aesthetically they're quite beautiful inside and out and the recipes once tasted always have me searching the books for what to try next. So for my birthday I finally decided to give the restaurant in Exmouth Market (north east London) a go and I wasn't disappointed. So much tempted me on the weekly menu, but I settled on the cod cheeks, surf clams and peas in salsa verde to start and it turned out to be my favourite dish of the meal with the salsa verde tasting fresh and spicy, I ended up polishing off every last drop by soaking it up with bread. As recommended I had a glass of San Leon Reserva de Familia manzanilla sherry to accompany it and it went perfectly. The wine we tried was the Pittacum Mencia, one unfamiliar to both of us, and it was light but with a smooth body full of flavour. My main course was the middle white pork with chard, pine nuts, raisins and oloroso sherry, pork not being my usual first choice when dining out, but I was curious about the sherry and I can never get enough chard. The chard turned out to be the variety I love most -- rainbow. The pork was incredibly moist having been cooked in the sherry and the flavour permeated every mouthful; as you can see from the photo below the portion was generous, but I didn't let that deter me from trying dessert. The yoghurt cake with pistachios came out different than I expected and when tasted it I smiled in recognition, it tasted exactly like one of my mother-in-law's lemon soufflé's (albeit a collapsed one by the appearance). :) It wasn't sweet at all (which is one of the biggest compliments I can give any dessert -- I prefer clean flavours, ctirus sharp and chocolate bitter) and the pistachios and berries gave a satisfying crunch. I ended the meal with a single shot of espresso (straight up with no sugar or milk, my preferred way to end a special meal out) which gave me enough of a kick to go exploring this previously unfamiliar area of London for the rest of the afternoon.
cod cheeks, surf clams and peas in salsa verde ~ middle white pork with chard, pine nuts, raisins and oloroso sherry
wine (Pittacum (Mencia) '04) and a glass of sherry (San Leon Reserva de Familia manzanilla) ~ wood roasted grey mullet with fried green tomatoes, cumin and sweet vinegar
yoghurt cake with pistachios ~ Malaga raisin ice cream with Pedro Ximenez
stumbled upon Banksy's "Old Skool" on Clerkenwell Road
... and later came across this gallery showing of Banksy vs. Warhol which I had no idea was going on. Admission was free so we strolled in and had a look around.
not so secret strip joint
The Potemkin where rich Russian women dripping in expensive jewellery work behind the bar, presumably as a hobby. ~ bright red! only made brighter by the unique overcast London light (which Woody Allen noted and one reason why he's filmed many of his recent films here).
unusual statues on festival walk
Zimbabwe Vigil from Naomi and Vimeo.
This vigil has been going on outside the Zimbabwean embassy on the strand for 5 years now, as long as I've lived here. It has become very familiar to me. www.zimvigil.co.uk/
I'm leaving for France early tomorrow morning for a week, I am reliably informed it is still summer there unlike England where winter seems to have ended late and autumn started early (I don't ever recall the leaves turning orange and yellow in late July before).
Wow, great post, you have been busy! Exmouth markets is lovely, only discovered it a few weeks ago on a work outing and was strongly recommended Moro by my collegue who lives on that street but I just wasn't sure. Well the food looks fantastic, I think I'll have to check it out!
As always, your LJ is a feast for the senses. You had me at the elegant Moro book covers. My wife would probably enjoy them (now checking Amazon). And the fountains are terrific. I love them! What a creative way to re-interpret a classic outdoor decoration.
I'm sure you would both enjoy the books, some of the few cookbooks I can wholeheartedly recommend. Very unique dishes.. they have another book coming out this year that focuses more on the Eastern Mediterranean.
The photography is beautiful as well and unlike the usual result with other books the finished dishes actually turn out looking like the photos. ;)
It has been so busy.. this is the first weekend in a long time that I'm not going anywhere, it will feel good to catch up with things.
I hope you do check out Moro and tell me what you had if you do! I want to try everything on their menu (which changes weekly). I had never visited Exmouth Market or even that part of London before, I loved the area. Not knowing where you live or work but another restaurant recommendation I can give from recent experience is the Viet Grill on Kingsland Road.. incredibly cheap for a huge amount of amazing Vietnamese food. We drive all the way across the city to East London just to get our fix. :)
Funny you mentioned viet grill, we've been going there a lot since their sister restaurant on old street seems to always be busy. So they told us to avoid the wait just tuck around the corner, and we've been happy to go back a few more times since. I agree, in an area full of sub-standard Vietnamese I found it surprisingly good. The other one I love is VIET on greek st just off Shaftsbury -- quick, easy and delicious, away from the guesswork that is Chinatown.
But yeah, I kinda work around Exmouth (Clerkenwell EC1). Love the area but it really dies after the "one and run" pint after work.
I'll keep you posted on my future Moro adventures :)
I love this restaurant and the ethos of the owners. The only complaint you could make about it is that it can be quite noisy - but then that seems authentically Spanish, and I prefer it to a stiff and starchy silent restaurant. Also, that yoghurt cake bares no resemblance to cake, but is sooooo good. I think it's a house dish.
I prefer a noisy alive restaurant environment too, as long as you can still hear each other speak. :)
Love their ethos too, think the only downside is the price as it seems a bit high, but the portions are extremely generous so it evens out. I found the yoghurt cake recipe in one of the cookbooks, going to try it out.. alternatively I could just cook my mother-in-law's lemon souffle and attack it with a fork at the end.. the taste and consistency are nearly the same!
I am absolutely mesmerized by your photography (this post and all others). Rarely do I find individuals who can detect immaculate beauty in what many would observe as mundane, and moreover are able to capture it with such intensity. I crave for London in the summer now, and you are to blame. I just may have to visit Scandal next year.
Thank you for your comment! If there is something to blamed for that is not a bad thing, although I prefer London in autumn when the trees are changing colour, it is not as busy, and the tube isn't sweltering to the point of people fainting (granted it hasn't been that bad this year). In any case I hope you enjoy your visit, no matter what time of year you choose to come. :)
Thank you for the movie of the Zimbabwe Vigil. Perhaps I missed the news item, but I've never seen a reference to this in all of the 5 years it's been taking place, and I like to think I keep upto date with news. I hope they see the change they dream of soon.
Jealous! I too own and often use both of those cook books, but I've never eaten at the restaurant: I did stand outside umming and ahing when I was working around the corner from Exmouth Market a couple of years ago, but I was a bit too skint at the time, and opted for one of the many other (slightly cheaper) good restauraunts down there. I did stock up on chorizo, manchega and membrillo from the Moro shop though.
I remember reading about you making yoghurt, I think it was, from the cookbook and knowing how much you used to (perhaps still do) eat out in London I figured you had been there many times over. :) Any names for those other slightly cheaper good restaurants? I'm always up for suggestions and I would say that was the only drawback I had for Moro, that it seemed a bit overpriced for what is essentially homecooking (albeit extremely good homecooking).
I don't remember what they were called, sorry.
I've been too poor to eat out for a very long time now, but recently I started freelancing and discovered I could afford it again - what bliss! My favourite recent discovery was a Japanese restaurant on one of the streets that run between the British Musesum and New Oxford Street, where they serve Okonomi-Yaki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okonomiyaki - delicious Japanese fast-food.
This'll be the place: http://www.london-eating.co.uk/507.htm