Mamounia Lounge Knightsbridge

Our visit last night to the Knightstbridge branch of Mamounia Lounge started off well. It was a surprisingly warm evening and the restaurant front was wide open, on to the street, with many guests sitting outside enjoying a shisha pipe.

Inside, the decor is stylish Arabic – all very appealing and comfortable. The restaurant wasn’t particularly busy but service degenerated from slow to terrible (the second bottle of Vernaccia di San Gimignano Castellani – a white wine @ £24.00 a bottle – was served warm, with barely an apology that they’d run out of chilled bottles of this particular wine, and no suggestion of a chilled alternative).

For starters, our party had a selection of briouat (deep fried filo pastry cases filled with cheese and potato, lamb, chicken + vegetables) @ £6.50, a chicken pastilla (chicken baked in a thin pastry with almond + cinnamon) @ £8.00, a fish pastilla @ £6.50 and a kallaje (cheese with bread) @ £6.50.

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Kallaje starter – not particularly exciting

For mains, two of us had a mixed grill and two had a lamb tagine. The tagines were excellent and seem to be the house speciality, while the mixed grill was good but some of the meat was very tough and chewy.

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Lamb tagine – beautifully prepared and extremely tasty with varied, deep flavours

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Mixed grill

We finished with a mint tea (probably the best mint tea I’ve had) which was served quite ceremoniously in Arabic glassware from a large pot, and a selection of baklawa @ £7.50 which was also very good, perfectly moist and honeyed.

I’m glad I’ve tried this restaurant but I won’t rush back. It has a nice feel and the food’s not bad but service is a let-down.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: Lebanese, Moroccan
~ Address: 136 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London
~ Postcode: SW3 1HY
~ Tel: 020 7581 7777
~ Nearest tube stations: Knightsbridge, South Kensington
~ Website: Mamounia Lounge Knightsbridge website
~ Location: Mamounia Lounge Knightsbridge map

Mamounia Lounge Knightsbridge on Urbanspoon

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Ciro’s Pomodoro

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Chicken teriyaki at Ciro’s Pomodoro

Ciro’s Pomodoro was recommended to me some time last year, and I finally gave it a whirl last night. It’s an intimate, basement restaurant – small and cosy – and well air-conditioned (very pleasing given the current heat-wave).

According to the website, Ciro’s supposedly attracts celebrities. On the menu, a star is named next to each each pizza listing (whoever’s favourite pizza that is). And there’s a vast selection – after all, that’s their speciality.

Most of our party opted for pizza: they’re thin-crust and ten inches in diameter with prices going up to £15.95. While the pizzas didn’t disappoint, the prices are a bit steep.

The walls are packed with photos of customers and famous people who’ve visited, and there’s live music too – all adding to the homely feel. Last night’s band did covers of music by The Police and Sade (remember her deep, velvet voice) but in a Jimmy-Somerville-high-pitched style. Hmmm.

Ciro’s is a very pleasant restaurant: the food, atmosphere and entertainment are all good, but it’s not in the same league as the excellent Donna Margherita .

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: Italian
~ Postcode: SW3
~ Nearest station: Knightsbridge
~ Website: Ciro’s Pomodoro London
~ Location: Ciro’s Pomodoro London

Satori Robata

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Satori Robata – Lardbutty restaurant

Satori Robata is a conveyor-belt style sushi restaurant like Yo Sushi! but much cheaper, despite its Knightsbridge location. Between two of us, we shared nine plates (a range of prawn, tuna, salmon and veggie maki, nigiri and rolls, as well as prawn tempura and chocolate mousse) and two freshly made chicken yakitori grill portions and drinks for a total of £40.

I recommend the prawn tempura (the batter was extremely light and crumbly, with no trace of oil – divine) and calpico zinger (a white fruity / flowery drink that was new to me).

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Coloured plates from the conveyor belt

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: Japanese
~ Takeaway menu: Satori Robata takeaway menu
~ Postcode: SW1X 7JN
~ Nearest tube station: Knightsbridge
~ Website: Satori Robata website
~ Location: Restaurant map

Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Cafe

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Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café has been offering excellent specials lately. Its closure at The Berkeley Hotel location may, in part, explain this (the lease ends and it’s closing tomorrow).

I had Sunday dinner here last month – three courses for £25 (sample prix fixe menu below). While it’s a classy restaurant, it was also comfortably casual and nothing was too much trouble for the waiting staff.

Prix fixe – two courses £21 or three courses £25

Starters
• Soup
• Pan-fried Cornish mackerel with wild garlic, tomato and olive dressing
• Watercress, endive and green bean salad with sesame dressing

Main courses
• Vegetarian option eg. Pappardelle with field mushrooms and baby spinach
• Fish option eg. Red mullet
• Meat option eg. Butter-roasted Goosnargh chicken with spring greens, lardons, garlic potatoes and thyme jus OR British beef with Yorkshire puddings

Desserts
• Steamed treacle pudding with Cornish clotted cream
• Brownie, pecan nut and marshmallow ice cream
Montgomery cheddar with oatcakes and spring fruit chutney

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We drank a Massaya classic red wine from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon @ £26.00. All the food was beautifully prepared and tasty but the final course of Montgomery cheddar with oatcakes (and a glass of port) was the highlight for me.

I look forward to re-visiting Boxwood Café in its new location.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British
~ Postcode: WAS SW1X 7RL
~ Nearest tube station: WAS Knightsbridge
~ Website: Boxwood Cafe website
~ Opening hours / information: Boxwood Café ceases to be at The Berkeley Hotel from 25 Apr 2010 – new location to be announced late 2010 (Hollywood?)