Andalusia offers Mediterranean in Hanwell, west LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal
By Yasir Khan
While my lunch time only allows me to venture out to West Ealing, Ealing Broadway, Pitshanger, Hanwell, and Northfields, I decided on visiting a relatively new place that’s opened in Hanwell.
What caught my attention with Andalusia, when I popped in a few months ago for a quick grab ‘n’ go, was their tagines.
And so a bunch of us went down, took advantage of Lidl supermarket’s 3-hour (you read that right) free parking slots opposite this cafe, and made our visit something of a feast.
The restaurant owner is a bright and bubbly fella from Morocco who not only came out to welcome us, but also convinced us to try his chef’s Soup of the Day, which came with two slices of a rustic type of ciabatta bread.
The lentil based Harira soup is a Moroccan classic; and this particular one had enough salty-oriented depth of flavour to it, and a touch of heat, to keep us going till the end.
A smartly presented Full English Breakfast will always get the mouth watering won’t it.
This one came with two sunny-side up eggs, brown buttered toast, a pair of turkey slides and sausages, half a grilled tomato, nicely cooked mushrooms, and a bowl of beans.
The weakest part of this plate were the turkey slides, which had good flavour, but were non-crispy and quite rubbery too. The sausages, in contrast, though quite dry, tasted good with a deep meaty taste to them. Everything else was bang on including those two beautifully made eggs with runny yolks.
We also got a pot of Earl Grey tea which, of course, went well with this breaki.
Just love the way a tagine looks when presented, especially when that lid is lifted and you’re hit by that waft of smells and aromas. When the contents of this huge Couscous Royal was revealed, it certainly got my friend excited – heck, it got us all excited.
Otherwise, this dish had the freshly-made couscous which was lightly and fluffy and very well made.
The assortment of veggies were nicely cooked too, with large chunks of sweet carrots, parsnips, courgettes, and potatoes, along with chickpeas.
Although the chicken was cooked really well, the lamb was slightly on the tough side, which my friend didn’t really mind. He also said that he would have preferred more sauce to really bring this altogether, particularly with the couscous.
Flavour-wise, it was lightly spiced allowing the flavours of each individual ingredient to create the ebbs and flows of this Couscous Royal.
I just had to go for the actual tadjine dish itself (at least the one that comes under the title heading on the menu), which in this case was the Lamb Tadjine.
While this wasn’t as big as the above, there was more than enough here to keep me happy. But, I have to agree with my friend, the lamb was slightly on the chewy side (with slow cooked tadjines, you’d expect the meat to just fall away).
I also found that, following the initial excitement, the spices were simply too light to counter the sweetness of all those prunes, apricots and sultanas.
Another thing I noticed, was that the tadjine appeared to be more for presentation purposes rather than the dish in which everything was cooked. This was pity since one of the hallmarks of a well made tadjine for me is the caramelised bits found on the sides and at the bottom that I just love scraping away.
Having said that though, if you enjoy your prunes and apricots, and enjoy your meat paired with fruits, then you’ll probably enjoy this.
Taste-wise, it was good, with the lemon coming through subtly, and the buttery base nice and crumbly.
There aren’t too many places in the area of London I’ve highlighted above that offer tadjines.
As such, I’d recommend checking this place out, particularly if you’re in the area.
101 Uxbridge Rd, Hanwell, London W7 3ST.
Opening Hours: TBC