Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to Maison Touareg - cave of wonders called home to some of London’s finest Middle Eastern cuisine and caterers to Harrods Food Court, and prepare yourselves for a treasure trove of unexpected sensory surprises in the bursting little heart of Soho.
Atmosphere and Clientele:
Stepping out of cold, rainy Leicester Square and into the glow of vivid red Maison Touareg, my slightly frazzled, Soho’d self felt instantly hugged by a padded and soundproofed haven of rich woven tapestries, blood red walls, thick carpets and plush ruby pillows cushioning a surprisingly diverse bunch of guests. There are as many work-from-homers here as birthday dos and elegant long-table dining parties flanked by an endless supply of wine, mezze and hazy dazy shisha. But whether it’s laptops and gossip over mint tea, or long, lounging dinners over sumptuous red wine, Maison Touareg seems to comfortably absorb all sorts seeking refuge from big bad Soho on a Saturday night. And like any true Middle Eastern hosts, the staff want to spoil and feed you until you’re stuffed like a little lamb shank.
Food, E-Shisha and The Belly Dancer:
I know two things: good Middle Eastern food in this part of London - or outside an Arab home - is hard to find, and food is the real reason to run to Maison Touareg. Exclusive caterers to Harrods’ deli itself, this joint makes no secret of the fact that their pride and honour sits in the hands of clearly a very talented team of chefs. Amongst the piles of stuffed vine leaves offered on almost every street corner, Maison Touareg’s mezze platter stands out and on top. Why? Four words: It’s In The Falafel. Infamously difficult to get right, ours was crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, fantastically flavoured, and set the stage for the rest of the menu. My comfort and surprise levels soared as we attacked a generously-plated silver tray of mixed delights of chicken, lamb, and fragrant dips.
Then came the other sensory surprise: the bellydancer. Hypnotic, beautiful and mesmerizingly sweet, she pulled my friend up for a bit of a belly shake as I puffed on fruity e-Shisha. Her response to his gyrations was nothing short of kind, and everyone seemed to be loving the cosy, welcoming vibe, drifting away on happy, healthy clouds of Divine Watermelon or Passion fruit-infused Shisha. In fact, I began to feel like a character in the ancient folktale of the Hashisheen, where substance-smokers lounging on divans were lulled into spirited laughter in the presence of beautiful virgins in return for the quick assassination here or there. But don’t try the latter stuff.
You couldn’t ask for a better place to park your tired arse on a Saturday night, or indeed any night, to feel soothed, loved and fed in the most exciting part of London. Puff on a (healthier) cloud of e-shisha and absorb a sensational experience, immersing into the Land of Plush while you feast on exquisitely authentic Middle Eastern delights.