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A trusty stalwart, Maghreb has a slightly tired air these days, though charming staff and fair prices make it reasonable for a local evening out.
On our last visit, starters of za’luk (cumin-infused mashed aubergine with tomatoes and lemon) and juicy grilled merguez sausages with lentils were fine, but lacked just-prepared freshness. A sanitised version of pastilla – flaky pastry pie traditionally made with squab pigeons, bones and all, sprinkled with icing sugar, but here stuffed with cinnamon, chicken and almonds served on a green salad – was a hit. But chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons (a standard that any Moroccan restaurant should get right) was disappointing: plenty of chicken, but mainly dried-out breast with a reheated flavour.
A couple of the generous glasses of drinkable house wine were needed for lubrication. The menu attempts some modern twists; venison tagine with redcurrants and caramelised quince just seems wrong. A shorter menu with freshly cooked, simpler dishes would greatly improve quality here.
189 Upper Street
|Transport:||Tube: Highbury & Islington tube/rail|
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