A friend of mine said she could eat at Moro everyday and judging by the plethora of rave reviews the place gets, she's not the only one. Located in Exmouth market, a foodie street offering visitors the choice of restaurants as well as food stalls (during lunch hours), Moro is probably the most celebrated amongst them all. The large and airy dining room is simple, a reflection of the food it serves. The service counter occupies the back wall, open for all to see and I watched it like a hawk throughout the meal, with beady and hungry eyes, waiting impatiently for the next plate of yumminess to arrive.
We tore the bread apart while we studied the menu. Bread was so good and elastic that it bounced back when we poked it. The crust was beautifully brown, definitely one of the best breads offered in a basket. (warning: as tempting as it is, don't go stuffing the bread down before the food arrives. Leave some to mop up the sauce from dishes.) Now back to the menu! Moro serves spanish/north african food and its menus change every three weeks to reflect what's in season. Charcoal grilled and woodfire grill are obviously a specialty as every main was one or the other. There's also an extensive tapas menu offering everything from babaganoush, chorizo, white asparagus, sardines etc etc. Our server was obviously passionate about food and Moro, (she'd worked there for 16 years), she helped guide us through the menu, there was just so much we found appetizing. We couldn't make up our mind so she offered us a taster of the white anchovies. Heavenly creamy, it was great as a topping for the bread but we cheekily said "Seeing that we've tried it, we're going to go for something else". She talked us through her favourites and we went with her recommendations.
|Cuttlefish with Pepper, cauliflower and mojo rojo|
|Cecina with pomegranate seeds, raw white asparagus and mint|
|Lamb with braised spinach and barley|
Food was colourful and bursting with flavour. Our starters offered a nice contrast: cuttlefish with red pepper and mojo rojo (a red pepper sauce) was saucy and again, great mopped up with bread; air dried beef (cecina) with pomegranate seeds, mint and raw white asparagus was refreshing. Charcoal grilled lamb with braised spinach and barley was good, but paled in contrast to the rest of the meal. The lamb was tender but the jam (sesame and orange blossom) was what made the dish. Deserts are popular in Moro, almost every table within our sight was having ice cream. We went for the yogurt cake with pomegranate seeds and pistachio but our server decided to also give us a serving of moro's famous Malaga raisin ice cream on the house. The yogurt cake isn't a looker but was so light and citrusy, who knew cake doused in vanilla custard could make such a perfect summer desert. The Malaga ice cream was listed last year on Timeout's london's 100 best dishes. I loved the booziness and the plump raisins, but thought the ice cream itself was more ice than cream.
Moro opened in 1997, making this the 16th year its been in business, that's a long time in the ever changing London restaurant scene. The lesson to restaurants here is: serve simple but good food, and you too, can enjoy longevity.