I had visited Maroush several years ago for the banquet and do not remember being overly impressed. This time round the three of us were up for the challenge of the banquet and really enjoyed it. This time around the food seemed to be much more enjoyable and the Urbanspoon reviews seem to speak for themselves about the lovely food and polite and attentive service. Also, with our voucher the banquet dropped from $45 a head to $35. I am not sure I would have justified $45 a head for the food, but then again the waiter did offer us more lamb and chicken and we declined as we were at that 'just right' stage. I have a feeling if Craig was with me he would have wanted a bit more.
We started with some beautiful dips- Hommos and Baba Ghannouj, served with both pita and another crispy style dipping bread. Both dips were clearly homemade and seasoned perfectly. We kept them on the table and used them as condiments throughout the meal. The crispy chips were really yummy too. We also got some tabouli which I find it a great cleansing of the palate type dish.
Next we recieved some mezze type dishes. I love this kind of rich finger food, I love how much flavour can be packed into a little package. The falafels had a beautiful texture and taste, especially with the drizzled spiced yogurt.
These were followed by some beautiful little pastries. The meat cigars were chock full of spiced meat but drizzled with a sweet sauce which had a wonderful fusion of rich and sweet flavours. The 'sambousik', filled with spinach and cheese had more of a subtle flavour and I am a sucker for anything that is spinach and cheese flavoured.
Next dish was the makanak and ors kafta, which I think can be explained as a little sausage and a little rissole. I am not a huge fan of this dish, I find it very dense and meaty... thats not just a Maroush thing, I have tried similar at many Lebanese restaurants.
The main of chicken and lamb skewers with two kinds of rice and salad was just beautiful. The perfectly cooked and seasoned meat was very moreish, and the gorgeous spiced rices complimented the meat really well.
Dessert was also very impressive. The Mahalabia in particular was right up my alley- custard with honey syrup, pistachio nuts and blossom water. I just love custard in any format, and the gorgeous rosewater and crispy topping just made this dish so lovely.
Even so, I couldn't help trying the turkish delight and baklava that we were also served... also very yummy!
Overall, Maroush was a very good eating experience. The restaurant wasn't overly atmospheric on a quiet Tuesday night, but I can imagine when it is bustling on the weekend and with the entertainment of a belly dancer it could be quite the night out. I am not overly sure if I would be as impressed with the banquet is we had paid the extra $10 a head- it was definitely enough food for three girls but I wonder if it would have sated the appetites of three hungry boys had there been boyfriends there? Hmmm..
I cannot recommend the Entertainment Book highly enough though. Obviously not every voucher in there is going to be a winner, but it pays itself off ten times over, especially if you use it on group dinners and save a heap of money!