We have a new Thursday tradition in our office: we take it in turns at finding a restaurant which costs £10 or less per person. This is easy as we work in Soho, and there are eight of us (we’re a web/social networking startup). The company then very kindly buys us lunch. I think that it’s a great tradition, one that I hope stands the test of time.
I kicked things off by suggesting that we go to Maison Touareg on Greek Street. Our old office used to be a couple of doors down from this place on Greek Street. I’d passed it plenty of times yet had never actually been there. The lunchtime special seemed reasonable – two courses for £8.95, which came in at a few pennies over £10 once you factored in service. Close enough, although we wouldn’t be able to order alcohol. Probably a good thing as lunchtime beer makes me sleepy and I become increasingly abusive towards Internet Explorer.
We got there at 12.30pm and it was quiet. I say quiet, but I mean entirely empty; although I guess that we were eating lunch quite early, so it’s not entirely unexpected. As for the décor and seating, it was pretty cosy; there were lots of cushions. I liked it.
The appetisers left on the table looked a little sad; slices of dry carrot, a couple of pickled peppers, and some olives. Still, olives are olives and I happily munched away. It’s like a sickness; no matter how shrivelled or briny, I can’t turn down free olives.
The deal was actually pretty good – you could choose any starter and any tagine or cous cous dish. There was a decent-enough selection of starters and I found quite a few things that interested me.
It took a little while for our food to come, but this was reassuring if anything, as we were the only people in the restaurant. At least we knew that we (probably) weren’t going to be served last night’s re-heated leftovers.
I went for the hoummus shawarma – a big dollop of hoummus topped with grilled meat, and plenty of toasted pitta breads on the side for dipping. It was nice. I’m a big fan of hoummus, especially the freshly made variety, so if you top it with meat then of course I’m going to like it. It’s hard to get wrong.
Other people had felafel (which I tried – or rather negotiated a trade for a portion of my hoummus and meat) and Lebanese lamb sausages. All good stuff.
The mains were served in steaming hot covered bowls. I went for the chicken tagine, and quite a few people went for the lamb tagine. A lamb cous cous dish was also ordered, although as you can see in the last photo, you get plenty of cous cous on the side anyway. I’d say go with the tagine. There was lots of meat (piping hot meat at that), and it was served swimming in a pool of tasty juice, just begging for cous cous to soak it up. I’d say that it’s hard to have an issue with a dish like this.
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but for £8.95 it was surprisingly tasty. You got a lot of flavour for your money. The fact that you get to choose any starter from the a la carte menu was a nice touch, too; it made it feel like less of a generic set menu lunch offer.