Sunday, 4 September 2011

Moro review London Exmouth Market - good food and excellent service makes it a joy


Address: 34 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE
Tel: 020 7833 8336
Nearest Tube station: Angel, Farringdon

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £15pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ****
Service: ****
Ambience: ***
Wife thought that I should cut to the chase and just state that our meal at Moro was fantastic and be done with it. She sees no point in me going round in circles and then come to the same conclusion. "If there's anyone reading your post at all, they would just want to know where's good to eat and that's about it," she concluded. I hate to agree with her for I hardly read beyond a couple of sentences on restaurant reviews. Well, if there are photos, I'll probably just scan through them and only stop to read about a dish if a photo caught my fancy. I'm that shallow. That said, now that you know my take on Moro, you might as well go through the entire piece. I promise you it wouldn't take you more than a few moments.

YQ was in town again. I find it harder and harder to impress him with London's cuisine these days after pushing up the bar with Ottolenghi and Nopi earlier, which I've not found the time to write about. Luckily for me, there is a myriad of restaurants within walking distance from my place. As we felt like having a light bite that afternoon, what could be more apt than tapas? It was a tough choice between Morito and Moro really. In the end, we opted for something new and headed to the larger setup.

It might be the jetlag, but YQ had a cursory glance at the menu and would rather I make the call. And that I did. I couldn't help but recall Morito's tapas menu when I scanned through its parent restaurant's. Moro's was painfully short and less interesting. Granted, Moro's much more than a tapas bar that Morito is but I was somewhat disappointed that the baby squid that I had tasted many moons ago at Morito wasn't offered at Moro. After asking for some recommendation from the very helpful waitress, we settled on some tapas dishes and two starters to share.


The tapas dishes arrived quite soon after one after another. The pimeintos de Padron (£4.50) was an apt start. I have read that eating these small green peppers from Padron, which are lightly fried in olive oil, is the luck of the draw, a Russian roulette if you will; while most are mildly sweet, some pack enough heat to fire up your gut. I was fortunate perhaps, for I managed to dodge the really spicy ones.


Grilled chorizo (£4.50) was up next. Nothing too fancy about this one and it was done competently. While a few lines of charring showed where the grill was, it retained its juiciness and that was what mattered.


We reserved our praise for the butifarra and alioli (£4.50), which arrived soon after. Perhaps the most widely eaten sausage in the Catalan cuisine, the butifarra was infused with herbs and the flavour came through vividly even though I layered the morsel with a healthy wallop of alioli. I dislike my sausages tightly packed but would loath to have something that crumbles the moment I cut into it. This one had it just about right.


The crispy lamb with hummus and flatbread (£8.50) is perhaps one thing that the roti prata (or roti canai) stalls back home should really look into. It reminded me of the lamb murtabak, only much better. The flatbread was interlayered with lamb bits and the hummus completed the dish. Give me hummus over curry for my murtabak anytime. The pine nuts generously sprinkled over the hummus were of course an added bonus.


Wife and YQ were quite taken with the grilled quail (£8.50) and for different reasons too. Wife was commenting on how the quail remained so tender despite spending some time on the grill - we had some really tough ones before. YQ, on the other hand, marvelled at the addition of grapes to the mix. That and the almond sauce added a smoky sweet taste to the quail.

As we were the only customers out in the open along Exmouth Market, the staff made it a point to head out every now and then to make sure that all was fine, waving to LO in an attempt to wrangle a smile from her. Well, more importantly, YQ was satisfied. As we marched down Exmouth Market for some good o' Caravan coffee, I was furiously thinking of where to bring him when he next visits.

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