34-36 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE Telephone: 0207 833 8336
I have thumbed through the pages of my Moro cookbooks time and time again, tried, tested and enjoyed many recipes (though regrettably not with my own grown produce which is reccommended.) I am deeply in love with the pilau rice recipe studded with vermillion squash, jewels of pomegranate and drizzled with saffron spiked butter and the "duck fatte" with rich meat scattered in and around sheets of aubergine and toasted shards of pitta. Despite the longstanding infatuation I had never been to either Moro or the neighbouring Morito until last week.
|Chargrilled halloumi, braised broad beans, baby onions, mint and lemon thyme|
A sweeping silver full length bar and a dash of emerald across the walls was all that broke up the room, it was to be expected. All the sparkle would be invested in the food. My aperitif, a sunset tinted blood orange Bellini, like the menu changes weekly and in tune with seasonal offerings. The bread I am guessing doesn't but soda bread intensified with treacle never loses its charm come spring or autumn.
It was refreshing to see that this meal would not be for the faint hearted, our plates cast mini mountain shadows behind them. The portions were much akin to the quantity I pride myself in serving but executed with highly expert precision. Springs finest broad beans and baby onions were braised simply and reinvigorated with lemon thyme served with chargrilled salty halloumi. A dish of delicately muddled fresh leaves and deep fried artichoke crowned with gum mastic rubbed mackerel and was equally as fulfilling as the creamy aubergine and spiced crispy lamb with a hum of harissa.
Upon the arrival of our mains the room was now brimming with chuckles and good smells, it was like being on holiday. The aromas from the grill and toasting of spices wafted seductively, transporting you to an exotic market square. Notes of our wood roasted meats were in the air; the guinea fowl which sat with creamy pinto beans and the pork with skin so crisp worthy of fisticuffs. My sea bass and six grains was refreshing with a tang from the turnip and lightly pickled radish.
Not quite managing a desert each we shared the chocolate tart and ice cream. Both an impeccable example of their kind and dressed up simply. The tart had a paper thin golden base, flawlessly smooth filling and came with crème fraiche. The orbs of frozen vanilla cream were speckled with Malagan raisins, plump sherry drenched beads which left a merry warmth to finish on.
It is now cemented in my heart that Moro is for every occasion, a treasure trove of honourable dishes fit for sharing at the restaurant, at home or by the way of a quick nibble and delicious slurp next door or at the bar. Moro delivers unadulterated flavours in their purest form and is texturally diverse without the need to dazzle with a velouté but relying on the ingredients form instead. Harnessing flavours at their freshest and cooking comfort food in an honest and exotic way.