Following on from my birthday in Brighton post, this is the restaurant that we stumbled across on my birthday and it was such a gem of a place that I want to dedicate a whole post to it! I have to confess we had reservations at another restaurant but we sat down and nothing seemed special or different about the place, it was all whitewashed and lifeless – so we shamefully told the waitress we had to dash off for an emergency and left. We then found A Taste of Sahara on Western Road, which is dotted with cute little restaurants as well as all of the high street shops and supermarkets.
Even from outside in the rain, Taste of Sahara looked so inviting with a group of people happily dining in the front window and couples dotted around the small front of house. Taste of Sahara is decorated with colourful embroidery and authentic talismans of the Middle East such as metal dinner plates, cups and old fashioned lanterns (that H said he remembers his grandparents used to have when he was young). This is paired with rustic wooden chairs and leather seats for couples or group tables featuring candles, colourful plants and flowers. The outside window of the restaurant has various stickers and reviews as well as a ‘BYO for free’ sign, so we quickly checked TripAdvisor and the comments don’t lie. With that we went two doors down to an off licence and bought a bottle of Rioja to go with our meal.
The cuisine in a mixture of Lebanese, Morroccan and Middle Eastern and is served in an intimate setting that reflects Eastern cultures; attentive service, soft Arabic music, the smell of food and spices, beautiful decoration and the murmur of conversation from other tables.
The menu offers starters which are original, authentic and delicious. We had Arayes bread, which is Lebanese bread filled with halloumi cheese and Jaweneh Mishwi, marinated and perfectly grilled chicken wings served with arabic salad and fresh lemon. The starters came and looked were so good that I forgot to get a quick photo before we ate. The bread was thin and soft and who doesn’t love halloumi cheese?! which was sandwiched in the middle and cooked in light spices. Mouth watering! Other starter options were Falafel, Houmus, kebabs or fresh salads.
The mains are a mix of Moroccan Tagine’s or Indian style dishes of rices or curries such as Ocra with optional chicken or lamb or balti style chicken with garlic and coriander. H had Kabesh with lamb, which was a Biryani type rice dish with lamb and yoghurt and I chose the Lamb Tagine that came with flatbread.
They were both served in traditional clay tangines and after eating we were both very satisfied and very full, with neither of us being able to finish our mains. The meat was clearly slow cooked, which made it so tender and there were soft vegetables, slight spices and a thick sauce which you can mop up with the flatbread. If anyone is heading to Brighton for the day and looking for somewhere a little different with really good quality food then definitely visit A Taste of Sahara. I usually only go to Brighton once a year in the summer, but next time I go I will be eating here again. A perfect choice for an unpredictable and original birthday dinner!