• Daphne, Camden
A sweet, down-to-earth Greek/Cypriot place. Very tender slices of octopus, without any bit of chewiness, either long cooked or very well pounded, in lots of spritzy lemon, olive oil and herbs (oregano?).
Very solid mixed seafood grill, delicious nuanced chewy texture in the monkfish, meaty and firm swordfish, snappy scallop with orange roe, ripping prawns, smooth rich salmon without excessive flakiness.
Simple spinach sauteed with garlic.
Greek yogurt, dense as one wold expect with toasted almonds and honey. Rosy chewy Greek delight, more dense than puffy.
• Cous Cous Cafe, Bayswater
A very nice chicken bastilla (the waitress convinced me this was better than the harder to find seafood version). Lovely overcoat of powdered sugar and cinnamon, with a minor tinge of heat and more woodsy spices (apparently saffron in the mix). Good crispy shell.
Lamb tagine is fine, although the fruit (prunes) flavours not as well integrated as I would have liked, also toasty notes from almonds and sesame seeds. The cous cous was also basic. I preferred the rendition at Original Tagines on the whole.
Very sweet moroccan pastries, heavily honeyed, as one might expected. Mostly variants on ground almonds, with falvours that reminded me of orange, vanilla or cinnamon. Nothing relevatory, but nice to have with ther minty moroccan tea, perfumed with orange blossom,
I totally adored their blended milk with almonds, banana, dates, pear and honey. Richly textured, a smooth base with the occasional speck of almond, the mint providing an airy counterpoint to the richer banana, milk and almonds.
• Pilpel, Spitalfields
Been visiting Spitalfields Market regularly to get my Marcolini fix (Verde & Co is still the old line, not the newer renditions), and finally got to try this falafel place. I enjoyed the freshly made falafel, crispy on the outside, and soft and slightly pasty on the inside. The rest of the condiments in the pita were fine but nothing special (tahini - could be more seasame-ish, ok pickles, ok hummous, can't remember if I even got the chilli sauce).