This review of Makla is so kindly courtesy of Makla Restaurant
For an authentic Moroccan dining experience in Dorset look no further than Makla in Southbourne’s high street, just a short trip from the centre of Bournemouth.
From delicious tagines to grills and plenty of sweet tea, Moroccan food encourages you to take your time over it, and Makla is the perfect place to savour it all.
As soon as you step into Makla on Southbourne high street, you truly feel yourself being transported to Morocco.
With colourful bags in sequins and straw detail that hang all around you, to silver teapots that line the high ceilings, to colourful painted tiles, it all gives you an impression of being in a bustling souk in the middle of Marrakech.
The atmosphere in Makla was immediately inviting, exotic, playful and relaxed. The staff could not be more welcoming, and guests are invited to dress in Fez hats that are placed on all of the tables if they please!
A typical Moroccan meal is made up of cold salads for starters, followed by tagine and couscous topped with vegetables or meats and usually includes tea and pastries.
So before all of the above, we selected the mezze sharing platter to start as it is an ideal way to sample all the very best of Moroccan cuisine.
Makla’s mezze platter included hummus, baba gannoush, tabouleh, falafel, pickles and flatbread to enjoy it all with.
This was the perfect way to start a Moroccan meal with a lovely, ample portion size that didn’t overwhelm small appetites but presented all the very best elements of Moroccan cuisine.
My favourite was the hummus that was delicate and yet deeply rich at the same time. The tabouleh was also just such a fresh accompaniment that I could have eaten all day alone!
Makla offers a variety of main courses from Moroccan cuisine and we both couldn’t resist the wholesome tagine.
A tagine is a Maghrebi dish that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked.
Think of a Moroccan tagine in particular as a succulent, slowly simmered stew. One that truly is one of my favourite dishes in the whole entire world!
Traditionally, a tagine is cooked in a clay (or ceramic) pot like this one pictured below from Makla, that is wide at the bottom and topped with a narrow, cone-shaped cover.
Underneath the cone, my lovely waitress at Makla unveiled a steaming, warm nourishing dish, with any further warmth or moisture gently trickling down to the sides and back into the dish.
I picked Makla‘s Vegan Beber chickpea Tagine that is topped with pan-fried vegetables that included carrots, asparagus, sweet potato and more.
This hearty vegan-tagine had a luxurious balance of sweet and savoury flavours, coupled with the intensity of spices that truly set this vegetable tagine apart from your average stew.
Every single mouthful was as nourishing as the next and it truly is the best tagine I have ever experienced!
My Dad enjoyed Makla‘s Lemon Chicken & Olive Tagine. This hearty dish is made with marinated chicken with preserved lemons and green olive sauce. A chicken tagine is one of the best known and loved tagines along with Lamb.
Each tagine at Makla is accompanied with either rice, couscous or flatbread. We both picked flatbread because there’s nothing more satisfying than soaking up every single last drop of this magical mouth-watering dish than with some homemade Moroccan bread!
Moroccan Tea and Pastries
The perfect Moroccan feast is finished with tea and traditional pastries and at Makla you will find both.
During my time in the UAE in February, I got so used to dining in Moroccan restaurants and enjoying these pastries as often as possible!
I’m beyond delighted that Makla are bringing these sweetest treats to Bournemouth for so many others to now enjoy!
Alongside Makla‘s pastries, we sipped Moroccan Orange Blossom tea with traditional pastries and sweets.
The Moroccan sweets that Makla served were a variety of flaky pastries, rich cakes and sticky sweets that were filled with oh so decadent flavours of pistachios, dates and pomegranates.
To complement the above, Makla serves two traditional teas to finish: mint or orange blossom. We picked orange blossom as it’s so different from the norm!
Plus, with orange blossom’s soothing properties, historically having been used to treat indigestion and stomach ailments, it was the perfect tea to finish a meal.
The orange blossom tea contained just the right amount of sweetness for me but additional sugar was supplied for those with a super sweet tooth!
After the meal, we had some time to discover the downstairs of Makla, that transported you even more deeply to Morroco.
With its deep blue walls, burnished gold and silver mirrors, bags cascading down the walls and tiled centrepiece, it truly felt like stepping into a Souk.
With Moroccan-style, low slung sofas and cushions that are scattered throughout, you can hire this downstairs area for exclusive events as you feast on tagines, mezze and more with a full bar.
Makla is entirely rooted in the traditions of Moroccan cooking and culture which is evident through its rich deep flavours in the dishes, to the richness of the decor.
If you’re looking for an authentic haven of Moroccan culture in Dorset, that’s full of freshness, from the teas to the tagines, then I couldn’t recommend a visit to Makla more.
How many of my Dorset readers have visited Makla? And for the rest of my readers, who adores Moroccan cuisine as much as me?