I'm always interested in new ventures opening up across the county, especially those which offer something different.
That is most certainly true of Taste of Marrakesh – it's not common to see a Moroccan restaurant so I was intrigued by this new venture.
It's been open for only around six weeks, occupying the premises of a former curry house in Newland. And when you step through the door it becomes apparent that this is very much a work in progress.
Which, of course, is no bad thing, although the lack of alcohol licence was a bit of a disappointment. We were told that this would be coming soon and instead opted for some soft drinks – perhaps not how we'd usually spend our Saturday evening out, but a change nonetheless.
The menu at Taste of Marrakech is simple but inviting. There are five starters, ranging from Moroccan soup (with tomatoes, chick peas, vermicelli, coriander and spices) to Briwat – spicy pastry filled with chicken, lamb or vegetables.
Although these sounded very tempting, we instead shared two other first courses. Zaalouk comprises aubergine and tomatoes sauteed in oil with spices and garlic. It has a subtle flavour and is a perfect opener.
The other starter that grabbed our attention was Taktouka, grilled peppers cooked slowly in a tomato, garlic and parsley sauce. Spicier than the other dish, it contained a wonderful mix of tastes. Both starters were met with approval.
For main course, my dining partner opted for a tagine. Of the three offered, she plumped for Tagine Bedouin, marinated chicken with sultanas, onions and prunes. It was a perfect meal for a cold winter night as it has enough spice to be warm and comforting.
My selection, the Kofta Meshwi, was slightly disappointing. The presentation was attractive and I was very much looking forward to the lamb balls seasoned with parsley, onion, cumin and five spice. But I felt that, for such an attractive potential combination of flavours, the result was a little flat and bland. This was a minor aberration as the rest of our meal was tasty, but I would have liked something with more punch.
I finished off my meal with a nice chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream. Again, we were told that traditional Moroccan deserts would be available soon – and, having tried a few, that sounds like a very tempting proposition. The chocolate cake though, was very pleasant.
The final tab came to only £26 which was very affordable, although we'd spent very little on drinks given the licensing issue.
So, it's slightly difficult to give a conclusion to our dining experience. There were elements which still needed to be improved of course, but it's very early days and I'm pleased that Lincoln has another option – it's certainly more interesting than another Italian restaurant. We resolved to return in three months to see if the improvements had been made. In the meantime, I'd suggest that you give Taste of Marrakesh a try as it is an interesting and affordable option.
At a glance
Where: Taste of Marrakech, 94-96, Newland, Lincoln, LN1 1YA
Parking: None, but there are car parks nearby including Lucy Tower.
Food hygiene: 5/5
The damage: Mint tea £1, mineral water £1.50, Zaalouk £3, Taktouka £3, Tagine Bedouin with rice £7.95, Kofta Meshwi £6.85, chocolate fudge cake £3.50.
Veggie friendly: Yes
Family friendly: Yes
Visit again: Yes
Good for: Something different.