Inspired by Paris’s Le Marais quarter, Tom, Dom and James opened the doors to the first Maray, on bustling Bold Street, in 2014, serving food full of the flavours of the Middle East but with their own flourishes. It was enough to impress Jay Rayner and now three Marays thrive.
Dishes you can expect include lamb kofta, this one with whipped ricotta and chilli oil, and lamb shawarma, with black olives, dates, mint, pomegranate and messabecha, a warm, creamy Israeli version of hummus. Traditional hummus features in the mezze section, on its own or as part of the falafel sharer with tabbouleh, house harissa and crispy Arabic flatbreads, or with chips and zhug in the veg section. Maray is practically made for vegetarians, there’s so much to choose from that’s free of meat.
The fattoush salad, adorned with bread, as is the norm, and anointed with a zingy citrus dressing, brings a healthy and colourful mix to the table – red onion, radicchio, lamb’s leaf, cucumber, tomato, radish and with or without feta, the latter version one of a whole host of plant-based plates on the standalone vegan menu.
Also straddling both menus is the now legendary disco cauliflower – smothered in white yoghurt (natural or non-dairy), green chermoula, red harissa and yellow tahini, and scattered with pomegranate seeds, almonds and fresh herbs, the vibrant, filling dish has garnered a cult-like following and is now a menu staple since first appearing as a special. The choice does change, ingredients following seasons, and Maray joined the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2018, committing to supporting farmers, sourcing fish responsibly, serving more veg and better meat, and reducing their impact on the environment.
Still, it’s not all holier than thou, and as well as serving up Rayner-worthy scran, you can also get a decent bevvy, with Love Lane beer on tap, orange, natural and minimal intervention wine, and house cocktails, including the Maray negroni and Lillet (And kind of vermouth) and tonic.
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