Restaurant review: Mama Malouf, Kennedy Town – Middle Eastern cuisine with strong but balanced flavours
This replacement for Catch on Catchick serves a good array of Arabic fare, including wonderfully succulent chicken livers, baked eggplant salad and a very refreshing baklava ‘sandwich’ dessert
The space that used to be Catch on Catchick is just as popular, and tables are just as close together, now that it’s changed to Mama Malouf. The seafood-heavy menu has made way for Middle Eastern cuisine. Any long-time Hong Kong foodies will be familiar with the name Malouf – in the 1980s, Greg Malouf was chef at Restaurant 97 (which then changed to Post 97). It’s his nephew, Alex, who is behind Mama Malouf.
Mama’s mezze (HK$148) had good, although not outstanding, versions of hummus and baba ganoush, and we couldn’t taste any of the listed tarragon in the labne. But things picked up after that.
Skewered parmesan-crumbed chicken livers with pickled chillies and feta mayonnaise was just fantastic – my favourite dish of the night. The flavours were strong but balanced, and the livers looked overcooked, but were wonderfully succulent.
We enjoyed the baked eggplant salad with burrata, tomato and crisp Arabic bread (HK$148). The burrata was moist and creamy, there was a plentiful amount of tender eggplant, and lots of parsley to make it refreshing.
I never thought I’d complain about too much chorizo, but the grilled quail with chorizo, quinoa, figs and chickpeas (HK$148) could have done with less of the cured meat. There was one thick slice of chorizo laid on top, and sizeable chunks mixed in with the quinoa, making it very salty and intense. We pushed aside some of the chorizo and the dish was much more balanced. The quails were moist, the chunks of fig added a nice sweetness, and the dressing had enough acidity.
We were getting full by that point (the other dishes were starters), but had also ordered one main course: the open duck shawarma (HK$168). It was a huge, delicious, mess of a dish, piled high with sliced duck, ripe tomatoes and arugula, and drizzled with creamy tahini. The pita bread underneath was like an afterthought.
Our appetites were revived with a dessert of baklava sandwich stuffed with cardamom ice cream and orange blossom syrup (HK$58). Sweet, cold and dripping with syrup, it was very refreshing.
Mama Malouf, 93 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2817 3828. About HK$400 without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in the area: