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Mamounia Lounge: Arabian Haven in Knightsbridge

Published 25 November 2012

Nestled only minutes away from the glittering empire of Harrods, Mamounia Lounge in Knightsbridge may look modest and unassuming from the outside, but exudes style and an exotic vibe as soon as you step through its doors.

The atmosphere at Mamounia lends itself to evening dining. It’s softly lit, lavishly decorated and luxuriously decadent – one of the first things I noticed when I arrived with my friend was that the floor and the tables were decorated with fresh rose petals.

We were served by a friendly, attentive waitress who knew the menu well, being able to make her own recommendations (ideal for a newcomer like myself who was a little dazzled by everything on offer!) To begin with my friend and I played it safe and started with standard humus and pita bread before moving on to a small sausage platter, nicely flavoured with spices and good for sharing.

For our main course our waitress recommended the Lamb Tagine, which I was slightly apprehensive about. I’m very particular about my lamb and wasn’t used to eating it like this, served as it was with prunes, apricots and almonds. I needn’t have worried though: as soon as it arrived on our table the smell alone won me over. I’m pleased to say it was delicious too – slow cooking it with the fruits gives it a delicate sweet taste, and the thinly sliced almonds adds the slightest of nutty textures to the moist, melt-in-the-mouth lamb.

The cocktail menu at Mamounia is no less extravagant. The restaurant serves their own unique selection of long drinks, champagne cocktails and shots. I opted for a classy Bellini, which was essentially Prosecco mixed with a little fruit puree (flavours varied) – but for me it was just what I wanted. The runaway winner of the drinks that evening, however, was definitely the Gold Digger: gorgeously creamy-smooth vanilla vodka cocktail with a gold-flecked pink champagne shot. The whole thing, as my friend put it, was like “sliding down a rainbow”!

The quiet tone was spiced up a little towards the end of the evening when the Friday night entertainment started: the music was turned up and a belly-dancer took to the floor. By this time I was outside with my friend, which was good for me. Had we stayed inside I would probably have been disturbed by the noise (I like quiet dining). I would like to point out, however, that I do think it’s a fantastic idea and certainly seemed to be appreciated by the diners inside.

So for anyone looking for a quieter end to the evening, the outside shisha area is a great alternative to wind down the night, and the small area is heated so can be enjoyed in cold weather. The shisha on offer is undoubtedly pricey – the prices in general at Mamounia Lounge are high but considering the location, the atmosphere and the quality of the food and drink it’s to be expected. It is more obvious with the shisha though. The standard price for one head is £30 – in many places, even in London, it is half that price. Mamounia Lounge does offer a variety of shisha flavours as well as alcoholic options, and feeling indecisive we opted for a mixed fruit flavour. We accompanied it with a selection of baklava for dessert: something I would definitely recommend. All in all, it was a lovely end to the evening.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Mamounia Lounge, having never dined at a restaurant serving Moroccan, Lebanese, and North African dishes. By the end of the night, however, I was definitely converted. This restaurant should definitely be on any London-goer’s list if they’re looking for Middle Eastern cuisine – it’s a great place to get a taste for it!

Mamounia Lounge
Address: 136 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1HY
Telephone: 0207 581 7777
Website: www.mamounialounge.com/knightsbridge