Putting the Soul in Lebanese Food – The Maison du Mezzé Experience
The Jimi Hendrix Experience consisted of a cover of a famous Bob Dylan song called All Along the Watchtower. As a musician, Jimi took something good and made it great. By the time the 4 minutes of crunching solos and improvisations had elapsed, it was no longer Bob Dylan’s song, but Jimi Hendrix’s.
Good food is like music, it has a soul, something transient that we can never quite put our finger on, but love to experience and toy with. And chefs, like musicians, learn to capture that soul and recreate it the best way they can, adding their own identity to the dish.
This is what we do at Maison du Mezzé. We take something good and make it great. In Lebanon, one thing that captures culinary history is our use of Seven Spice – a spice used all over the Arab world. The Lebanese added their own soul to food using an adaptation of this staple Arabic spice to make the sweet, astringent, and stimulating taste that Maison du Mezzé delivers to delighted customers daily at Leicester Square and Kingston’s Bentall Centre.
What is Seven Spices?
The Arabic Seven spices actually consists of eight spices – which is super misleading – but true. It is, as we said, the generic form of the spice that is sung in different keys across the Arab world. Meaning every culture has taken Seven Spice and adapted it in their own way. In Morocco they added cardamom and in Turkey they added coriander. Lebanon is no different, we developed our own way of using Seven Spice. Of course, the mix of Seven Spices varies just as much from house to house as it does country to country – but that is the beauty of art – it is ever changing.
What Is the Lebanese Seven Spice?
Firstly, when we say spice we aren’t saying spicy. This mix won’t make your mouth crave some non-descript yogurt or milk to calm the burn – but adds flavour and personality to a dish to make it soulful. This mix of Seven Spice is what allows our chefs in the kitchen to capture the soul of Lebanese cuisine – the same way Jimi caught Bob Dylan’s.
The Lebanese variant of Seven Spice is: nutmeg, ginger, allspice, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper (unlike the Arabic Seven Spice – we only use 7). It’s traditional to prepare Seven Spice in a large quantity – that way, you you only have to get it right once.
In doing this, we take special care to ensure that the seven flavours become one distinct taste – meaning each flavour sings in harmony. That is the Maison du Mezzé way and how we distinguish ourselves from the rest. Our dishes are served with the same artistic flare and passion found in any artistic creation. In the same way that Jimi Hendrix distinguished himself from Bob Dylan, we separate ourselves from other Lebanese restaurants by adding our own soul and spice. In some cases, they may have even been here first, but we do it better.
Come down to one of our restaurants in Leicester Square or Kingston and enjoy The Maison du Mezzé Experience – soulful Lebanese food like never before.