Have you ever had that moment, when you walk past a place and think ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to dine there one day’? Well, back when I worked at my previous job, I often walked passed Alexandrie in Kensington and had this reoccurring thought. I’ll admit as sad as it was, I was en route to Sainsbury’s for a meal deal…
So when both Jon and I were invited along to try their menu earlier this month, both of us were intrigued and excited.
Alexandrie Restaurant & Bar on Kensington Church Street recently opened and on their menu are some interesting and delicious sounding dishes from the Middle East with influences from Italy, France and Greece. I’ll put my hand up here; this was my first dining experience with this cuisine and with that said I picked all the speciality dishes I could to try.
The décor is contemporary throughout with the neutral colour scheme giving a chic and stylish look. Modern art adds a splash of colour to the walls and complements the Swarovski crystal chandeliers and gold gilded mirrors. According to the staff, these chandeliers are bespoke and were crafted just for the restaurant. The elegant and comfortable seating features a mix of individual chairs and spacious tables adorned with crisp white tablecloths.
But enough about the décor, lets dive into what both Jon and I ordered.
Before the starters graced our table, we were served a trio of cold mezes – Hoummous, Babaganoush, Aubergine Salad accompanied by warm toasted flat bread. Out of the three, by far my favourite was the babaganoush. It was delightfully smooth, peppery yet with a hint of citrus.
Alexandrie’s menu includes the speciality Molokheya, Egypt’s renowned herb soup, served with rice, onions and vinegar on the side. This was my first encounter with this dish, and I have to say it was different. When I questioned the manager for recommendations his explanation of the dish was interesting. “The closest thing I can compare the herb to is spinach, but the texture of the soup itself is slimy…” Obviously I was sold on the slime – no joke, maybe, half a joke. For my personal taste buds, I added in a dash of the vinegar and a sprinkling of the onions (raw) to add that extra dimension of taste and crunch…
On the other side of the table, Jon ordered Quail breasts, which were pan-fried with onion purée, date sauce with caramelised shallots. For him, the Quail was perfectly cooked and succulent. The crunchy and tart green apples contrasted the sweet date sauce and caramelised shallots.
I stuck to the traditional side of the menu and ordered the traditional oven-baked Okra (bamia) with lamb. Although the picture may not look appetising, the dish itself was rich and fragrant. The lamb was soft, and well spiced. The okra was soft from the stewing process and thankfully not overly slimy.
Jon ordered the lamb shank, which had been marinated and slow-roasted in mild Egyptian spices. The meat fell off the bone and it melted in the mouth. I have to admit, it was pretty hard to steal a bite from Jon… The potatoes were smooth, and were a nice accompaniment to the dish. This is certainly a dish to be ordered, if you have a great appetite or are super hungry.
To finish of any good meal, dessert should be ordered. There is always room for dessert and both dishes ordered were some of their specialities.
Mehalabeya – a milk pudding topped with candied pistachios.
Om Ali – A crisp filo pastry, baked in a vanilla cream and topped with flaked almonds
Overall, our dining experience at Alexandrie was pleasant and enjoyable. It was a great to try a cuisine that was new to us both. From our conversations post meal, we learnt that Alexandrie offers an excellent value two-course lunch with a number of its speciality dishes available. For sure, if Jon and I are in the area this would be a place to visit again to take advantage of this deal.
*this post was written in collaboration with:
Alexandrie Restaurant & Bar, 38 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BX