As I get to visit a fair few restaurants in my capacity as PA extraordinare, I can vouch for the fact that, sadly, many of them seem to have been fitted out in a bland, identikit type of way – interior design 101 if you will. Imagine my delight, then, when I was invited to dine at Mamounia Lounge in Mayfair and discovered it’s an enchanting and atmospheric hideaway, straight out of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
I started off with one of their signature cocktails, the Gold Digger, which is a heady mix of fresh passion fruit with vanilla vodka, accompanied by a shot of champagne topped with gold leaf flakes. Well, this is Arabia, after all darlings, where gold is de rigeur with just about everything and definitely not the kind of place where you’d ask for a half of bitter.
Having lived in Dubai for many years, I like to think of myself as something of a connoisseur of Middle Eastern cuisine and I’m delighted to report that the food here effortlessly lives up to the hype. A fantastic array of hot and cold mezze is on offer – the delish aubergine-based Moutabel and an assortment of savoury pastries called Briouat are not to be missed – but take care not to fill up on them too much, as you won’t want to miss the mains.
As well as Lebanese favourites such as Shawarma and Shish Taouk, you’ll find North African dishes on the menu and I plumped for a tagine of melt-in-the mouth lamb shank, served in a tasty tomato sauce featuring just the right hint of spiciness. Some gloriously ripe, sweet mango and a plate of Baklawa (incredibly moreish, sweet pastries with honey and nuts) made for a perfect end to the meal.
And, if the cuisine isn’t tempting enough on its own, the exotically costumed belly dancer and lively traditional music is bound to make your experience that little bit more memorable.
This blog originally appeared on the PA Life Club site. To read more of Penelope Alice’s blog entries and get access to a range of fantastic benefits, including discounts and special deals at dozens of selected retailers and venues, as well as exclusive monthly competitions, networking events and 50% off PA Life’s new training courses, click here: palife.co.uk/pa-life-club