“Cafe Mauresque”:http://www.cafemauresque.co.uk/ in Canterbury had been recommended and although we’d tried booking a table in advance, the online booking system wasn’t working and so on arrival, we called in and were given the option of one of the four or so tables in the entrance or one downstairs. After investigating, we chose the latter and asked for one of the higher tables as some are slightly low in keeping with the theme.
At 8pm, the restaurant was quiet and as the night progressed, others left and for the vast majority of our meal we appeared to be the only customers, which didn’t help the ambience. The dark room with dark wood tables, was beautifully decorated with Moorish tiles and lamps casting interesting shadows on the walls.
The “menu”:http://www.cafemauresque.co.uk/menu.html is a combination of Andalusian/North African cuisine and the waiter took us through explaining that we could have an option of tapas and a main dish or simply tapas which we opted for. He suggested three to four tapas each which bearing in mind they were around £6 would have made an expensive meal. We decided to start with four and flat bread on the basis we could order more – halloumi brochettes on hummus, fried potatoes with harissa yoghurt, lamb meatballs in a tomato and red wine sauce and a sauté of mushrooms, prawns and chorizo. All were very good, but we felt we could eat a little more and topped up with peppers stuffed with confit of tuna and aioli and falafel with harissa yoghurt. The harissa yoghurt appeared to have the key ingredient missing as it was neither spicy or rose coloured and so we were offered a dish of plain harissa which gave us the kick we were needing.
We chose a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, served without a chiller, and had tap water from a lovely pottery jug. Our bill came to £57 + tip.
Whilst the food was good, it was let down by the lack of atmosphere. On leaving, we were pleased not to have chosen an upstairs table at the entrance, as it was rather chilly.
The funniest moment of the evening was ear-wigging a couple on a nearby table. At first, I thought I’d heard the young lady ask her boyfriend where Wales was but was sure I must have been mistaken. However, later she asked the waiter if he was Moroccan and he said he was a combination of Egyptian and the Ukraine. After he’d gone, she proclaimed, ‘he doesn’t look like a gypsy’. I suspect she doesn’t know where Wales is!