Maramia: Middle Eastern food at its best (September 2016)

With the iconic but still rather scary Trellick Tower in spitting distance and the roar of the Westway just yards away, you would not naturally expect to find culinary heaven, or at least a very good version of it. Yet, nestled halfway along the Golborne Road and unknown to many sits Maramia. It claims on its website to be the first restaurant in London to offer Palestinian food. The impression on coming here is one that is warm and welcoming, almost a bit like entering someone’s house. The authenticity is enhanced by the enthusiasm of the staff and the presence of a number of apparent regulars. Although we chose to sit outside and enjoy the local scene, the décor and lighting indoors also looked enticing and would sure to be a good option for the winter months. Onto the food, and the dishes here are obviously informed by Middle Eastern substances and flavours. All recipes are apparently homemade and with competitive pricing (£5 for starters and around £15 for mains), there is no reason not to indulge. My comrade and I began with three dishes, moutabel (chargrilled aubergine), batata harra (fried potatoes topped with chilli and herbs) and foul (mashed fava beans). All were excellent, but stand-out for me was the latter, comfortably on a par – if not better – than similar varieties I have sampled across the Middle East. According to the chef, the dish is cooked ‘Palestinian style’, with green chilli, garlic, tahini and lemon juice added. It was both unctuous and flavoursome. I would accord similar high praise to the mains. My grilled lamb was magnificently enhanced by the special sauce with which it was served. Said sauce comprised parsley, mint, coriander, sumac, saffron, thyme, garlic, chilli and yoghurt and was a well-balanced explosion of flavours, a superb foil to the smoky nature of the meat. We paired our food with a great bottle of Lebanese wine, a Grenache-blend with notes of red cherry, violet and vanilla from the Bekaa Valley. At c£30/head all-in, I will definitely be back.