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Del’Aziz Eastern Mediterranean Restaurant, Restaurant Review London

11 Bermondsey Square
London SE1 3UN

Tel: 020 7407 2991

Recently I ventured to a part of London little known to me, yet one that has taken on something of a radical transformation over the past decade. Bermondsey has now placed itself firmly on the map as achingly trendy, with bars and restaurants that remind me of some of the hippest areas of Manhattan. Del’Aziz is situated in a modern development in Bermondsey Square. The theme of the restaurant is Eastern Mediterranean, with wonderfully evocative music from the region adding to the relaxed environment, so gradually as our meal progressed we felt increasingly enveloped in a truly authentic atmosphere.

The interior is spacious and airy, with warm colours, wooden tables, slate floors and plenty of natural light flooding the room. The restaurant leads through to a comfortable and seductively designed bar with an eastern ambience. Here I can imagine with the nights beginning to draw in it would be all too easy to lose track of time whilst imbibing an exotic cocktail or two. For anyone fascinated by archaeology and the history of London there is an added intriguing twist to the surroundings. When the building was being renovated it transpired that the site lay on the remains of an 11thcentury monastery. This slice of history is now visible through a specially lit glass floor.

The menu is extensive and fairly priced, with set menus also available if you are dining on a budget. To begin there is a wide choice of hot and cold Mezze. This included some wonderfully fresh tasting stuffed vine leaves, with plenty of herbs and lemon for added zing on the palate. We also tried some grilled spicy merguez (lamb and beef) sausages, which were full of bite and served with a minted yoghurt accompaniment. Sorkeh Panir (grilled Halloumi cheese) came char-grilled with a sharp contrast of chilli jam. The only disappointment were the sardines (served with spices and a cucumber and dill salad) which lacked substance and failed to impress.

The house wine is Lebanese and perfectly acceptable and well priced. However, I cannot recommend highly enough the clean and crisp tasting Minala Gavi de Gavi 2008 Nicola Bergaglio, Piemonte (£26.50). A wonderful wine with a certain strength of character that was able to hold its own against the spices.

From the main course we both chose a Tagine. For those of you not in the know these are traditional earthenware pots which contain a sort of Middle-Eastern style stew served with a lamb or chicken based interior. My chicken tagine arrived piping hot and was full of moist and flavoursome meat with a lemony spiced sauce with cous-cous. My guest commented his lamb version was beautifully tender, the meat scented and succulent. For those in your party who want something a little less exotic there are burgers, pasta’s and steaks also available.

For pudding we went through to the inspiring deli, (full of wonderful treats to take away and eat at home or work) to select from the many tempting cakes and desserts on offer. We settled on a spiced apple cake topped with a soft meringue style crust which was melt in the mouth and light as a feather. A Turkish coffee seemed a must to finish proceedings, my guest commenting it was of excellent strength and texture, whilst being presented in an authentic ornate copper container.

If the mood takes you there is live jazz on Wednesday and Saturday evenings and belly dancing on Friday nights to help you unwind for the for coming weekend. The range of choice on the menu means Del Aziz is somewhere good for a business lunch, but is somewhere much more exotic and interesting if desired.

Louise Elgin.
October 2009.

A three course meal with wine and water is around £40 a head.

Two-course set lunch - £12.50
House Wine £12.50
Del ‘Aziz is open for breakfast from 7am with dining throughout the day.
Last orders at 11pm.

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