Harden's survey result
“Consistently delicious Lebanese food” remains a hallmark of Marouf and Houda Abouzaki’s well-established restaurant group after more than 40 years. Even experienced Beirut hands report “very authentic” cooking, although service can be “inconsistent”. The group shrank during the pandemic, but has bounced back with a large new restaurant/bar/emporium further west, in Park Royal. A sandwich wrap in the busy café on the ground floor of the Beauchamp Place branch is one of the top cheap eats in the Knightsbridge area.
“Fun, reliable Lebanese cuisine served Beirut-style” – “shawarma and meze-type dishes at their best” – has built an empire over 40 years for Marouf and Houda Abouzaki’s well-known chain (and its sister brand, ‘Ranoush’). The pandemic brought branch closures, including of the original Edgware Road site, although Knightsbridge’s Maroush II with its café-style ground floor (and including a sandwich wraps menu) is still going strong. And – showing the resilience for which the Lebanese are renowned – a large new “open plan” site opened in 2021 in distant Park Royal.
“The garlic sauce is a symphony on your tongue when you have shish taouk or a mixed shawarma at 3am on the way home” from the café sections of this “long-standing favourite Lebanese chain” (you may need to ask for the wrap menu at the posh Beauchamp Place branch). When it comes to the main menu, “expect the usual staples” of Lebanese cuisine. Opened 40 years ago by Marouf and Houda Abouzaki, sites have come and gone over the years, especially over the pandemic. The original ‘Maroush I’ at 21 Edgware Road is closed as of September 2021, and its return seems very uncertain at this point, so we’ve marked it as closed, RIP. That leaves four in the stable currently open – the well-known Knightsbridge branch, a smaller Earl’s Court Café, and a very dramatic, vast new-build restaurant, wine bar and market that opened in the boonies of Park Royal in summer 2021 (a bold opening that deserves support), and the Maroush Express on Edgware Road. (Under the same ownership: the eccentric but excellent Crockers Folly in St John’s Wood – see also – plus the more grab-and-go Ranoush branches).
London’s longest-serving Lebanese group has served a “delicious and generous ensemble of mezze and mains” for almost four decades, remaining “admirably consistent over the years”. There are currently 14 branches under various names (including Ranoush, Beirut Express, Randa); and at the outlets actually branded as ‘Maroush’ the “decor is a bit 1980s” especially in the sedate main dining rooms. The better bets are the “casual” cafés at the original branch and in Beauchamp Place – “for a quick meal, you can’t go wrong”, especially from the bargain menu of wraps. For late-night live music and belly-dancing head to the original Edgware Road branch.
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