Lakaz Maman (Mauritian Street Kitchen) – Southampton
For those who don’t, Shelina stormed through the cooking competition, thoroughly wowing judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace along the way, grabbed the coveted prize, and hasn’t looked back since.
In that time, and in no particular order, she’s published two cook books, the first of which (‘Sunshine on a Plate’) won the Gourmand Book Award for best African Cook Book, and has appeared on a number of TV shows, including This Morning, Lorraine, Sunday Brunch, What’s Cooking, among others.
In addition, she’s hosted cooking shows at leading Halal food festivals, and if that’s not enough, has also managed to open a restaurant in her home town of Southampton which offers a fully Halal food menu.
Located on Bedford Place, Lakaz Maman – a Mauritian Creole word for ‘Mum’s House’ – is a comfy 47-cover eatery that’s all about Mauritian street food with, of course, that same modern tropical twist which helped Shelina become Masterchef champion.
Our menu caters for Dairy Free, Gluten Free & Vegan and Vegetarian diets and is Halal.
DRINKS & MOCKTAILS
Lakaz Maman offers a good selection of drinks and mocktails, the best of which for us was the Panakon – a light and refreshing beverage, with a tangy mellow kick to it, which served as an excellent palate cleanser and, thus, a perfect accompaniment for the gently spiced dishes had below.
But if you’re a fan of rose water, then the Alooda (aka Falooda across Central Asia) might be the one to go for. In this case, it was milky, with the rose water coming through tepidly. In fact, not only did one Lion describe it as “insipid”, but also observed that the “initial pleasant taste was offset by a strange aftertaste”.
The effervescent sweet-tanginess of the strawberry in the Mauritian Sunset was the dominant flavour, with the heat of ginger barely discernible.
The weakest of the quartet was definitely the Tropical Punch though, which turned out to be a rather flat affair.
A Breakfast Torpedo indeed, and one that’s made up of an assortment of ingredients that all came together wonderfully to deliver a cascade of textures and flavours. From the meatiness of the crispy, smoky Turkey bacon and succulent chicken sausages to the zingy freshness of the salsa, this grabbed our attention and maintained our interest right the way through.
We’re not sure whether the crispy perimeter of the sunny-side up egg was by design or not, but it certainly leant an additional edge to the whole thing. Nevertheless, we would have preferred it otherwise.
The good thing about this dish overall was that it offered a good mix of flavours, but without being too much.
This Mixed Meat Starter for two really was an exciting platter, especially at 12-quid, and particularly with lamb ribs, chicken wings, pakoras, balls, inhouse sauces, a bowl of coleslaw, and more.
Unsurprisingly, the ribs were the first things we grabbed, turning out liberally marinated in a gorgeously sticky-sweet BBQ sauce, crispy edged, on the right side of chewy, and with the meat coming away with tender ease. Delicious!
There were also these crispy and spicy-cum-herby balls which, for something so small and innocuous looking, not only delivered an immediate kick, but had some serious depth of flavour too.
The chicken pakoras particularly stoodout, and were made even better with that sweet and tangy viscous green dip offering a hint of spice.
And if the heat level does get a little too much, there’s a really well made crunchy bowl of coleslaw, with its fresh almost sweet fruity taste, available to cleanse the palate.
You can then move on to those ultra-crispy chilli chicken wings doused in a spicy mango chilli sauce with coriander and chilli flakes. But to be honest, we’d try dipping this, and anything else for that matter, in that tremendous BBQ sauce – thick and spicy, and quite tasty.
A scrumptiously good dish of king prawns which we all enjoyed messily working our way through.
Be sure to give that grilled segment of lime a quick squeeze (and certainly no more), since we found a touch of the sour to really compliment the curry-flavoured marination, with its touch of heat and its hint of sweetness.
ISLAND STYLE ROTI WRAPS
These Cari Mutton wraps were accompanied by the most perfectly executed sweet potato fries – all utterly crispy and dangerously addictive.
As for the filling in the Mauritian roti wrap, then this comprised of a fairly succulent mutton, which bordered on the stringy side, and was wrapped in a lettuce leaf alongside some carrots and peas, with mint running through it.
And though one Lion enjoyed this for its “tender meat” and “flavoursome filling”, the other two weren’t quite as impressed, considering the entire wrap to be somewhat subtle in nature.
Hence, while the curry was mildly spiced and satisfyingly aromatic, it did have a nice creamy consistency to it, which, when had with the expertly cooked fragrant rice, made for a decent plate.
Having said that though, it didn’t quite achieve a consensus, with one reviewer claiming that the “octopus was barely noticeable”; hence concluding: “Pleasant, but forgettable.”
Based on the idea of surf ‘n’ turf, and said to be “a classic rice based Chinese-Mauritian dish”, this concoction was quite an intriguing one.
Topped with a sunny-side up egg, this entire plate revolves around the wet, with the beautifully cooked rice saturated in a herby sauce, and mixed with mushrooms, superbly executed prawns, and absolutely tender chicken.
If you are looking for a little more heat and kick to this otherwise mildly aromatic plate, however, then you might want to consider mixing in some of the Piment Limón, or Citrus Hot bottled sauce, available on every table. Word of warning though, don’t be too ambitious and heavy handed, since the latter is quite potent.
You might also want to note that this dish can be made vegan and gluten free on request.
It was essentially a saturated brioche bun that housed a thick, silky smooth block of distinctly flavoured coconut ice cream, which was covered in a salted caramel sauce and some pistachio crumb for a little textural contrast.
The result? A surprisingly light dessert that was well balanced, fun, and one of the dishes of the review.
This simple little glass of summery goodness certainly delivered on the familiar flavour of pina colada, with the creamy posset topped by a zesty layer of ripe and green diced pineapple, coconut crisps, and accompanied by a crumbly pair of delicious little shortbread biscuits.
Nonetheless, while this was pleasant enough, there’s no doubt that we’d opt for the above.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED ACCESS
- JUST EAT
The Breakfast Torpedo and the Yummy Coco Bun are two that come to mind in this respect. The rest of the menu was well executed, with particular emphasis on the Mixed Meat Starter. We did, however, agree that some of the dishes didn't quite deliver on the more robust flavours we were expecting. Perhaps it's for this reason that every table has a bottle of Piment Limón, or Citrus Hot sauce, available for the more adventurous palates.
Be that as it may, if you're in Southampton, then Lakaz Maman has to be on your top-3 list of Halal restaurants to visit, with the opportunity, if you're lucky, of meeting the wonderfully friendly and talented Shelina Permalloo, who's kindly put up a discount for all our readers.
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