In Review: Tagine, London

tagine balham
I have a love/love relationship with Morocco. Having travelled around the country twice, I am as fascinated by the culture as I was the day I landed and still count Fes as one of my favourite destinations in the world.

Authentic Moroccan food, however, called for a love affair of its very own.

Since feasting on a number of tagines and mezze on my first visit (blog research, natch) I have struggled to find a Moroccan restaurant in London with genuine culinary prowess. Especially for diners who aren’t willing to spend the cost of a return flight on dinner.

If only I had been so smart as to search eponymously.

Tagine – in Balham – is a roaring example of Moroccan custom and cuisine. Though noticeably popular with the locals, the mood-lit room felt unusually humble from the second I passed through the entrance curtains. Especially endearing for a restaurant that serves = to my knowledge – the best Moroccan food in London.

After cracking open our BYOB bottle (tip: oak-aged Spanish and Lebanese reds pair really well with traditional Moroccan dishes), my dinner date and I embarked on a hopeful feast.

To start, we shared a bountiful mezze of houmous (with ouzania olive oil), pita, slata barda (sliced beetroot with honey, cinnanon, olive oil & balsamic vinegar), zaalouk (a aubergine, tomato sauce, parsley, coriander & olive oil compote), kefta mashwiya (grilled lamb kefta with mechouia dip & coriander), and carrot salad (with garlic, coriander & Moroccan spices) with a side order of almond and cinnamon-spiced chicken pastillas.

With the official seal of approval resting on the success of their tagines, we ordered the lamb barkouk and fish options, respectively, and spent the next thirty minutes making Meg Ryan in Katz Deli noises over our dishes.

While my own slow-cooked lamb shank (with prunes, almonds, poached pear & sesame seeds) ticked every conceivable box, my date’s tender, tomato and spice-covered sea bass achieved “best meal I’ve ever had in London” status by his estimations.

Bar a spontaneous flight binge, this is the closest you’ll get to Morocco in the foreseeable. Don’t miss out.

tagine balham
tagine balham
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EatAbout: Private Meals in the home of a Chef

eatabout london
There are a finite number of e-mails one can receive from digital start-ups before you start to throw them all into an instinctive pile of “I’ll look at that later” negligence.

Though I champion platforms like Airbnb in the mien of a founding investor, it has been a number of years since a start-up has captured my attention (or finances) like the unlikely Californian accommodation innovation of 2008.

Only recently, like the Airbnb of foodie dreams, did EatAbout pique my fandom.

The babyfaced culinary hub soft-launched this month with the wonderfully simple intention of offering Londoners affordable private meals in the homes of professional chefs and skilled enthusiasts.

Using the EatAbout website, you are able to search a number of creative and varied menus (everything from ‘vegan feasts’ to ‘sexy Swedish supper clubs’) and book meals for two to sixteen friends or loved ones at your convenience. No stressful menu planning, no washing up, all dinner party-style fun and frivolity.

To trial the the platform, I joined an incredible group of blogger and journalist friends in the home of MasterChef finalist Emma Spitzer for what turned out to be an undeniably perfect meal.

Over four hours of fairy light-covered hilarity, we watched Emma cook up an enviable storm. Starting with ‘a celebration’ of beetroot, hazelnuts, and the most beautiful burrata I’ve ever laid tongue on (from the fellas at Pulia), we plate-licked our way straight into a generous display of pan-seared sea bass with chermoula over spiced chickpeas before wrapping things up on a rich salted caramel chocolate pot with crème fraiche that quite literally melted our hearts.

Even when our BYOB resources were well and truly drained, we sipped fresh mint tea and nibbled on a gluttonous handfuls of handmade truffles while plaguing Emma with praise.

A night to remember (if ever an embarrassing colloquialism was required).

EatAbout is ideal for special occasions, unique date nights, home chef hobbyists, and general foodie wanderlust. Go forth, friend. Food porn awaits.

eatabout london
eatabout london
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WIN Ben Allen x LG Art (worth £2,250!)

ben allen artist
Thanks to my long-term love affair with LG, your home is about to get reaaaaaal fancy.

Over London Fashion Week, LG partnered up with the dynamic Ben Allen – contemporary artist extraordinaire – to reimagine iconic wash labels with the hope that the resulting artwork would raise awareness of the symbols and encourage people to educate themselves about how best to care for their clothes (keeping garments looking their best for longer). The outcome was a slew of perfectly pop-y canvases and, lo and behold, I have my three favourites (worth £2,250!) to give away to give away to one lucky reader – you just choose your favourite!

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to:
1. Follow me on Twitter (@lelalondon)
2. Leave a comment below telling me which canvas you would like and where you would put it!

The giveaway will close January 28th, 12am GMT and I will contact the winner shortly thereafter to arrange delivery. Good luck!

ben allen artist
ben allen artist
a Rafflecopter giveaway