Whatever the culinary consequences of my dinner at Mamounia Lounge, Knightsbridge (practically opposite Harrods) on Saturday night, I had a lot of fun. I never usually eat at places that favour really loud clubby music and cocktails, apart from when I’m on holiday, so when they asked me to attend as a guest for dinner, I thought I’d try a new experience, and I came away kinda liking it. Yes there were flaws with the food, particularly the main dishes, and yes it was hugely overpriced, but did I mention that I had a lot of fun?
Our Cocktails got the evening off to a great start. My Passion Champagne (£12) absolutely stunning. The friendly bartender layered Passion Fruit, Passoa & Cassis, topped the mix with Moet and a chunk of fresh passionfruit, and it was over to me to stir up the layers to play with the sweetness and strength of their flavour. The Bourbonite, a mix of bourbon, amaretto & lime juice (£9) was short, sweet and well put together, though nowhere near as pretty as the Passion Champagne. We drank them at the bar, which was bizarrely situated right in the middle of the long narrow restaurant. Over the course of the the evening the room switched roles from a bar, to a stage, and then onto a fully fledged dance-floor.Staff kindly showed us to our tables as soon as our cocktails were done. Starters came quickly and they were of a really promising standard. We had a portion of smooth and flavoursome hommus kawarma (£8); hommus topped with diced lamb, toasted pinenuts and flavoured with paprika, and some charred, smoky Moutabel (£6), pureed and smoked aubergine with sesame oil and lemon juice. Both were remarkably tasty, though they were ungenerously served with one only flatbread each.
Mains weren’t great. Lamb tagine (£19.50) with prunes, almonds and apricots was watery and very heavy on the cinnamon, which overpowered the flavour of the meat. It also felt like the almonds, apricots and prunes had been added at the very end so that none of their lovely flavours made it into the sauce. The mixed grill (£18) was a decent combination of chicken, lamb and lamb kofta. But, if you added the meat to the accompanying chilli and garlic sauces, and stuffed the lot along with sides pickled chilli and salad into a pita bread, you’d have one pleasant, medium-sized, high-quality, eighteen pound kebab.
To finish we had a portion of sweet silky Mahalabia (£6), which was livened up by a delicate honey and pistachio topping. A nice, light way to end the meal. But the real star was the scrumptious, dense, syrupy-soak portion of baklawa (£7.50). Each morsel was impressively tasty, with different degrees of lovely sweet pistachio, fig, honey and almond combinations.
Mamounia Lounge is clearly well known to those who frequent Knightsbridge as a party destination. Throughout our evening, a clan of classy clubbers came pouring into the bar in their Laboutins and relaxed into the glamourous setting. There were also a couple of big parties who had come for hen do’s and birthdays who got particularly rowdy when an incredible and typically scantilly clad belly dancer performed throughout our hommus course.
So a bill of £104 (plus service) paid for a chunk of a night out (we went at 8.30, left at 11pm), a location, and a destination, rather than a nice meal out. I imagine Mamounia Lounge isn’t to everyone’s taste, and the price and glamour lends itself to quite a niche clientele, but if you feel like letting go, having some fun over some decent, if flawed, food, and flashing some cash then you’ll almost certainly warm to it. Just head there on a Friday or Saturday evening, it might be a very different place on a drizzly Monday evening.
Crumpeats was a guest at Mamounia.