Sahara is the new Moroccan and Lebanese in Bricklane, bringing the finest food and ambience to the East London area.
Here at Sahara EVERYONE is Welcome!
|Venue name:||Sahara Lane||Contact:|
61 Hanbury Street
|Price:||£25 and under|
2.5 / 5
In short, this place is awful, avoid. If you'd like a longer, dissection of the most appalling food and pathetic service that I've ever received in a restaurant then read on.... Myself and my girlfriend had been really looking forward to this meal, I work most nights so it was lovely for us to be going on a date night together. To make it even better we'd got a deal from KGB so we were going to get 2 courses and a glass of wine each for just £19 - it sounded like brilliant value, and a great way for us to sample a new restaurant. We arrived at the restaurant and the warning signs were already there when we saw that the restaurant only had 4 other people (2 couples) in it when we arrived. It was 8pm on a Friday night and every other restaurant around there was packed. Still, no bother, we were really looking forward to it. We were shown to our seat and offered either a glass of wine each or for the bargain price of just £15 we could upgrade to a bottle of wine, according to the waiter it's usually £25 for a bottle of wine. Unsurprisingly we decided that a glass of white each would be fine. To say that it was poor quality is a bit like saying that sewers can be a bit mucky. It was terrible, I've drunk some rubbish wines but this was eye-wateringly bad. The waiter then showed us the menu, and what a lovely and extensive menu it was too - until he told us that we couldn't have half of the starters, or half of the main courses. This hadn't been stated in the deal that we'd bought and it didn't seem to make any sense as there was no difference in the prices between the dishes we could or couldn't have. In the end to start I decided to have the Batata Harrah, spicy sautéed potatoes with red pepper, coriander, garlic, cumin and fresh chilli to start, whilst my partner decided to go for the Mousakka, baked aubergine cooked with chick peas, onions, tomatoes and sweet peppers. For mains I went for a Couscous Royale whilst my girlfriend went for a Lamb Tagine. It took a fairly long time for our starters to arrive and when they did we discovered that it really wasn't worth the wait. You'd think that it'd be pretty difficult for a genuine Moroccan restaurant to get Mousakka wrong - oh no, there wasn't any aubergine in it, in fact it was almost only chick peas. If you thought it was difficult to get that wrong, surely they couldn't get the potato dish wrong? Oh, yes they could, there was potato and it was sautéed and there was a tiny bit of tinned tomato on top but there wasn't any of the spices or flavour that the menu had promised. The little pieces of bread that came with the starters were neither warm nor fresh. We asked the waiter to come over and he tried to insist that there was aubergine in the mousakka by saying that is was mashed which is why my gf couldn't see it - it didn't explain why it didn't taste of it though. When I asked about the spices on my potatoes he said that they didn't have any! We insisted that what he'd served us wasn't as described on the menu and he took the dishes away. He didn't offer us any other choice but we assumed that he'd be getting the kitchen to recook the dishes properly.... Wrong again, he next turned up at our table with our main courses! At first we started complaining about why he hadn't replaced the starters and he said, "Because you didn't like them!" Then he took the top off my partners Lamb tagine and it was the final straw. The tagine was tiny, the sort of size that you might serve a starter in, no bigger than a ramekin, and inside the pot were 5 small pieces of lamb. It was ridiculous, this was a dish that was supposed to be £13.95 according to their menu and there was nothing there. My partner looked at the waiter and said, "Is this it?" "Oh no," he said, "I'll get you a bit of bread to go with it." When we said that it wasn't good enough and there was no way that the dish that he'd brought to our table was a suitable size for a main course he said, "Look, if you don't like it then leave." So we did. We walked 2 minutes along the road to Brick Lane and had a decent curry for not much more than the deal had cost us. When we walked back passed the Sahara at 10pm it was closed - every other restaurant around there was not only still open but still busy. So, if you want terrible food, terrible service and terrible value then Sahara's the place for you. If you want to enjoy your evening, go somewhere else.
This restaurant is wheelchair accessible (I am not sure about the loo, but there is a nice wide door at the entrance to the restaurant, and no steps). I am in a wheelchair and these things are important to me (and to anyone else in a chair, which is why I mention it). The service was excellent, the food was delicious and affordable. They serve wine, so you are not allowed to bring your own bottle. I had a bottle of Morrocan red wine that was really very nice. I was surprised, as I thought that it would be sweet or raisin-y, but it was nice and dry and full-bodied. The atmosphere was good, and there were quite a few people besides our party in the restaurant. I recommend it to anyone who likes good food cooked over an open grill for an affordable price. We will be going back.