Maray serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine at the Royal Albert Dock

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The latest Maray restaurant is in an idyllic location. It is a spectacular view down the Dock, and on a sunny evening the zig zagging reflections on the water, are mesmerising. We are welcomed with genuine warmth. The staff are friendly and impressively knowledgeable about the food. It is a glass fronted, comfortable, open space, and the panorama is even more spectacular from the upper floor.

Words: Jean Hill

Where to start? Remember when vegetables were the uninspiring stuff, that you ate first, all the better to appreciate the main event. In this Mediterranean and North African cuisine, vegetables have a starring role. Heritage carrots, with rose harissa (North African hot chili pepper paste) and lemon, delivers a vibrant spark to the sweet crunch. Butternut squash merges with feta, and the salty sharp taste of the feta, enhances the subtle flavour of the squash.

There is a Middle Eastern influence with Persian bread, dips, labneh (yoghurt in the form of soft cheese) and accompaniments, hummus, dates and apricots. Sweet potato with dates, molasses and tahini delivers a depth of rich sticky flavour and consistency, and is beautifully balanced. Aioli, which is essentially home-made mayonnaise with the addition of fresh garlic, and in some recipes saffron and mustard, tastes wonderfully fresh. The Persian bread, along with almost everything served, is made in-house. It is not salty and it is not too sweet. It feels light and fluffy, (literally puffed up whilst cooking) and it is divine.

Fish comes in the form of scallops, with crispy cabbage, and tiger prawns are paired with cauliflower bhaji. Blackberry and lemon gel accompanies cured salmon. Cut to the meat. Lamb Kofta comprises tahini and pine nuts. Lamb Shawarma is a wonderful blend of herb feta, apricots and pistachios. Buttermilk fried chicken achieves juicy crisp with satisfying  smooth. Dips and pickles are in plentiful supply. Maray discovered this cuisine in Paris, and felt the need to spread the word. It is food as celebration. And a brief mention of their cocktails: Pink Cashmere is juicy and sharp, summer berry infused Lillet Blanc, Beefeater gin and cava and is the taste of cool sunny, summer breezes.

There is so much happening on the Dock this summer. Enjoy the Floating Pop-up cinema, with a floating bar (I’m floating on sunshine), many events, football coaching, and so much more. All good reasons to visit the Dock, and try this lovely food.

To book a table, call: 0151 7095820

You may also enjoy: His & Hers investigates a summer of events at the Albert Dock.

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