Monday, November 28, 2005

Spelunking in London on a Saturday Night

I went Spelunking in London on Saturday night in search of a meal! Well, not quite. I actually went to a restaurant called Souk near Covent Garden. The full name of the restaurant is 'Souk Restaurant & Bazaar' and they bill themselves as 'The best North African cuisine in London.', but it would be better titled 'Crowded Dungeon quite Bizarre'.

To start off with owners have obviously taken the idea of a bazaar to as extreme an interpretation as is possible, quite probably flouting any fire safety regulations there may be. The place is packed so tight that it makes the tube at rush hour feel luxuriously spacious.

Then there is the wait; reservation or no reservation, you wait. They appear to have a very high cancellation rate, I say this because every seat seemed to have been double or triple booked, and the only reason that I can think for this is that a lot of people must cancel. There is of course no available space to wait in, so people end up queuing on the stairs, standing in (quite tight) spaces between tables of people eating, in the store cupboards, just about anywhere, anywhere that is except the bog, which was flooded.

We were eventually offered a table in the interestingly sounding cavern. It turned out to be a dark mouldy cupboard with a deceptively large step into it (ouch) and I'd hate to know what was hanging off the ceiling, but it appeared to be alive. Somehow they expected to fit four people in there around a 13" dining table. You'd be hard pressed to fit 4 fasting Calista Flockharts in there! We declined and were eventually offered another table.

Once seated the place takes on a whole different atmosphere. You can't see the filth so much and the extra loud Bazaar music makes it impossible to hear the insults from the French speaking staff. The menu's looked very interesting, and although the starter tasted like something without any taste, the main courses were considered very good by all who attended. They were out of crêpes so I can't tell you what dessert was like. I can tell you that the coffee is interesting and if you are feeling brave I would recommend you try some. Let me not forgot to mention the belly dancing. The belly dancer did a passable dance, in quite a confined space and I think she did the most with what she had; when you consider that she had a washboard flat stomach. Choosing a career as a belly dancer when you only have about 8% body fat takes some guts

All in all the company at dinner and
Souk Restaurant & Bazaar
Atmosphere: 6/20
Service: 6/20
Entertainment: 10/20
Food: 20/40
Total: 42/100
for the most part the food was good, and so it was in the end a quite pleasant evening. However if you are looking for somewhere nice to eat in London or are a fan of North African quisine then I suggest that you look elsewhere. If however you are feeling a little bit like Indiana Jones, and feel like a walk on the wild side then this is the place for you!

4 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

If you feel like another go at African cuisine, although probably not so North, you should try Calabash in the Africa Centre on King St, Covent Garden.

The restaurant itself doesn't look too impressive and it's in a basement, but I thought the food was great.

2/12/05 11:11  
Blogger Andy said...

BTW, your little rating box is very poorly coded, from a semantic point of view. Not to mention that it doesn't render properly on my browser (Firefox on Linux).

May I suggest that next time you use a table (gasp!) for tabular data.

2/12/05 11:24  
Blogger Jon said...

I've not given up on Arican cuisine just yet :), any and all recommendations will be thankfully received.

Tables! Well that's a bit controversial. I may have to, but I'll do some testing and style sheet modifications first. Tables are the last resort of the desperate coder.

2/12/05 12:06  
Blogger osbert said...

The t-word!

I feel unclean, like I've been violated!

Quick, run me a shower...

5/12/05 14:20  

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