Saturday night I had the pleasure of travelling to another country through food. I know it sounds cliche but the flavours and dishes I enjoyed made me feel as though I was eating in Dubai or some other exotic middle eastern country.
I was excited by my good friend to attend her birthday dinner. She was turning thirty and had toyed with the idea of going to another restaurant who failed to get back to her husband, the organiser for more than two weeks. He called, he emailed and he tried on a number of occasions but the restaurant made no effort to reply at all. Quite apaulling really considering they are in “hospitality”.
So with a lack of response from the original desired venuw, my friend and her husband threw their hands in the air and said “stuff it, we’ll go here”. “Here” is an awakening of the senses through middle eastern food at a stylish well themed venue in the Valley known as Mecca Bah. Little did we know this would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
As I walked in the ambience was great. I sat at one of two long tables that had been reserved for the eighteen gusets including myself and positioned myself second from the end of one of these tables. I was sat with my back to the centrally located bar which was a 360 degree architectural feature that looked amazing.
Across from me was my friend her husband and both of their respective mums who I made a point of saying hello to properly out of respect and because they’re both lovely ladies. All those sat across from me had a wall behind them and we’re sat on bench seating. Covering the wall from behind the bench seating back rest all the way up to the ceiling was a cleverly decorative copper tone mirror tiling that not only looked great but added to the theme and put in in prime position to observe absolutely everything that unfolded during the night.
In particular one for the bar staff caught my eye as he was a fast worker, professional and very handsome. He seemed to call the shots for the other two beverage attendants who arrived for their shift shortly after I sat down.
I watched him most of the night as he almost danced from one drinks order to another and choreographed the other two staff tasked with filling orders for drinks. But this blog is not about handsome young hospitality workers who know their way around a bar, it’s about the food.
Oh my goodness the food. We all had a couple of drinks and then there was a back and forth on what food would be ordered. The table I sat at had decided to go with the banquet. Being indecisive it was an easy option for me so I joined the decision.
The banquet started to arrive with the starters first. Sweet potato falafel on tahini sauce, kataifi pastry baked with a middle eastern cheese filling and mini boureks of spicy lamb and pine nuts. All three were amazing and perfectly prepared. The venue was confident without being aroogant and as part of the decor they had large screens running short films of the prep for the food. All three starters were featured on the screens and looked so stunning that I was sure I would in some way be disappointed when the actual food arrived, however I was not. It was just as well presented as what we had been watching on the screens and the perfect blend of spices, fragrance and high quality ingredients slowly took all of us to a far off land. With each bite taken around the table eyes grew wider and smiles crept on faces. My personal favourite would have to be the sweet potato falafel with tahini sauce. The outside perfectly crispy, the inside perfect texture just short of being dry and that tahini sauce which from what I could tell was blended through a yoghurt base were Devine.
Unfortunately I failed to grab any pics of our starters. They were just too delicious and we ate them too quickly.
A few more drinks and some funny stories later our mains started flowing to the table.
The chicken kebab on tabouleh and spiced rice with yoghurt sauce looked amazing. I didn’t get to try this dish as it was very popular and other diners ate it up real quick. I didn’t mind as I was saving myself for what I knew was coming. Those at the table who did eat this dish said it was as delicious as it looked and cooked to perfection, I heard one of our group describe how well the yoghurt complimented the dish.
Next to hit the table…
Moroccan spiced clamari with bean salad. I could very happily have eaten a full meal of just this. Cooked to absolute perfection, it was as though some god had drifted down and whispered the combination of spices to use on calamari right into the chef’s ear as he prepared this dish I was honestly in awe of its perfection and pretty sure I ate more than my share (sshhhh don’t tell the others hehehe)…
Followed very closely by the first of two awesome pizzas…
Harissa spiced tomato, haloumi, eggplant and parsley perfectly finished with just the right amount of oil drizzled on top. The haloumi had just the right amount of bite or kick to it as it had been kissed with chilli and married like it was born to be with eggplant. Yuuummmmmmaaahhhh my mouth is watering right now as I write this …
The second pizza arrived shortly after…
This parcel of perfectly baked pizza dough with a filling of spitroasted lamb, just the right amount of creamy yoghurt on top and seasoned with sumac then topped with rocket … No words. I literally had no words. As I let the awesome flavour and textures overwhelm me with happiness I had nothing to say because it was so delicious. I looked across the table and my friend who was celebrating her birthday and I could see the experience had the same effect on her. We were both in foodie heaven….
These were all accompanied by the jewel in the crown….
A salad of fresh roasted beetroot cooked Al dente, dressed with an flavour packed spiced oil and tossed through rocket and baby radish. Broken up ever so slightly with a tease of fresh chopped onion. It was as awesome as the rest of the meal and perfect for breaking up the heavier dishes around the table…
So there were no belly dancers that night but I can promise you all of our bellies were dancing with joy at the amazing food we had enjoyed.
Mecca bah knows how to rock the Moroccan spiced and everything that comes along with it. Highly reccomended you check it out.