In between meetings, lunch on a not-very-happening day took me to Marrakesh on FC Road. I was actually taken there by a dear friend and foodie who liked some of their offerings. Being an avid Mid-Eastern cuisine fan, I happily tugged along. I love the subtle and delicate flavour profiles and the no-frill cooking that is associated with the cuisine.
We walked into Marrakesh and two things struck me, one the number of ‘post-its’ with comments all over the place; looks like it has a huge fan following. Second, it has an open kitchen. Now, according to me, that is walking a dangerous line. Anyway, as luck would have it, we were seated right next to the counter from where I could view the entire kitchen. A piece of advice to the owners; guys, I admire your guts for building an open kitchen, but please make your people maintain it. I’m not saying it has to be spick-and-span but come on, kitchens are meant to be well-lit and clean! Also, please ask your kitchen team to have a clean mouth and low decibel levels, especially because it’s all open and your guests can hear them. Oh come on, ‘Ae mad*%^&*@#, ek dal makhni maar’, is not what people want to hear all the time. I really like when entrepreneurs do bold things with food, but please be careful because you may not be around to see when your guy scratches his crotch, but guests will be. And trust me, I have been there and seen it happen!
Coming to the food, I’m a little disappointed that there is not a lot of Lebanese, Moroccan or Arabic food on the menu. Only the quintessential Shawarma variety, Hummus, Zatar, Pita etc. I’m quite sure there are so many interesting dishes that could have been added instead of the same old Kebabs and Biryanis. But I wouldn’t entirely blame the owners for that, I guess we as clients don’t experiment much and want our Dal, Boti and Roti wherever we go and so, everyone plays safe.
We kicked off our lunch by ordering Dajaj Shawarma, open-faced Dajaj Shawarma, Lamb Kafta, Hummus, Hot Sauce and Pita. No, we didn’t order the Makrana Kebab, about which I’ve heard a lot of people rave, but the menu description sounded too normal for me to try it. I was really excited to see the open-faced Shawarma simply because I have eaten and served it as well and was expecting to get floored. Alas, it was the same Shawarma just unwrapped. At almost double the price of the ‘rolled’ Shawarma. I seriously expected a lot more in terms of quantity and ingredients. A major let down that was. It tasted nice though, a lot creamier and mayo-ed version, but nice nonetheless. The pickled veggies on the side didn’t help much. The Lamb Kafta I found to be a little off and just a close cousin of our Seekh Kebab. My foodie friend enjoyed it though. It lacked the distinct mid-eastern flavours with high notes of cardamom. The Hummus was gooood, and the best part was the Hot Sauce. And God, it was hot! It could be a great palate cleanser between courses and that is exactly what we did. Gorged on a lot of Hummus and Hot Sauce with Pita till our mains arrived.
Didn’t find any mains apart from the Indian ones, so ordered Dajaj Bhuna, Dal Peshwari (seems to be a specialty here) and Naan. I believe that one must judge an Indian eatery based on its Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken. Dajaj Bhuna or Bhuna Murgh as it should be called was just OK. Could have been a lot better with slightly better gravy than the Khus Khus loaded brown greasy stuff that it was bhunaoed in. Lame. The Dal Peshawari was nice but again, it lacked any distant flavour profile that could differentiate it from the Dal Makhani, leaving the sweetness aside. The Naan was nothing to write home about either.
Overall, not a very good culinary experience for me. Could have been much better. I seriously hope these guys do well and serve brilliant food in the years to come. Meanwhile, I’ll keep my search for a good mid-eastern (read Lebanese or Moroccan) meal on.
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