This is a long overdue post about the London restaurant and books of Moro. Opened by Sam and Sam Clark, and celebrating it’s 15 year anniversary this summer, the Essex Market restaurant is a favourite among foodies and Londoners. The tapas bar next door, Morito, opened last year, and is perfect for those times you just can’t get that reservation.
Informal, buzzy, great service, great food. Prices are on the high side, perhaps because they know how good they are, and when you’re that good, you can justify it. Nice to have an extensive Sherry list- great value for the quality.
Although difficult to replicate the fantastic open ovens and grills they have in the restaurant, a scorching griddle or grill can produce the desired smoky, caramelised flavour.
People often say what is the point in going to a restaurant if you have all of their recipes in a book anyway? I find this a bizarre question. Going to a restaurant is more than having food made for you. However hard we try, we can’t achieve the same quality at home. We have neither the equipment, time or quality and variety of ingredients.
The first book, published in 2001 still looks fresh. One thing publishers have really cracked in the last 10 years is cookbooks, for which I am extremely grateful. We take for granted now that cookbooks will be full of seductive photography, printed on nice matt paper. Moro must have been a trailblazer in this genre. Remember the vegetarian cookbooks of the 70’s and 80’s? Everything was brown. The book and the food.
So now we’ve enjoyed the production values, we can move on to the content. Where we are spoiled for choice. With a sensible structure and good index, the book has got the bare bones there. A good glossary at the back, including many of the more elusive ingredients, and a nice explanations of the basics of those Sherries. Now to the recipes. There is so much here to have a go with, from starting your own sourdough starter, making your own yoghurt (which I’ve done- very nice too, and cheap,) plenty of meat and fish, vegetables and sauces.
It is pretty much thanks to this book that I get though a stupid amount of smoked paprika (only the proper stuff in tins will do- why does the jar stuff taste like cardboard?) and sherry vinegar.
Some favourite recipes include:
Baba Ghanoush – Aubergine. Garlic. Enough said.
Hummus- Will never buy it again after realizing how easy, and how much better it is to make it!
Beetroot soup with black cumin – Earthy, sweet, spicy. Perfect for the colder months
Fatayer- a stuffed triangle of pumpkin, feta, oregano and pine nuts. Great picnic food
Yoghurt cake- looks like a cake gone wrong- tastes amazing
I could go on. And then bore you with the recipes I still want to try. But I won’t. If you don’t have this book, buy it.
And then there are the dressings and sauces. The sherry vinegar dressing is now my default – 1 smashed garlic clove, 1tbs sherry vinegar, 4tbsp Extra Virgin, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Incidentally, I think Sherry vinegar is amazing. I reckon in 5 years it will all be about this underrated vinegar. Balsamic is no longer zeitgeist.
The Moro cookbook is one of the most used books in my collection. It’s by go-to for a variety of things, particularly dressings and sauces, which enliven anything from fish to salads. It helps that many of the recipes include garlic. What would we do without garlic?
PS One of the Sams has done a few videos the the Guardian, showing off some of their recipes. If a TV exec has not seen this yet, they should. I think this could be a TV hit in the making.