Mazagouna El Gouna
Mazagouna El Gouna Lebanese and Middle Eastern food in a stylish yet traditional restaurant decorated in vibrant hues. As soon as we walked into Mazagouna we were transported to some far-flung exotic destination and we were certainly given a warm Middle Eastern welcome.
The authentic Lebanese chef has found a magical way to bring the gourmet delicacies of Lebanon to Egypt. We had the option to dine mezze style from a sumptuous array of tapas sizes dishes or opt for the more traditional main courses including Hot Tarabulsih Fish, Kofta, Shish Tawouk to name but a few.
We decided to embrace the oriental style and indulge in a selection of the famous Lebanese mezze which was the perfect way to enjoy our dining experience. We started with Lentil Soup (32le) which was made with hearty lentils, carrots and onions and perfectly blended into a creamy consistency.
We had a mezze banquet fit for kings with a selection of both hot and cold mezze, too many to mention them all. The Cold Vine Leaves (35le) came recommended to us and we certainly were not disappointed. The authentic tender vine leaves were stuffed with rice, onion, tomato, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice. My personal favourites were the Makanek with Pomegranate Sauce (49le), the Chicken Breast with Lemon Sauce (49le) and the Hot Potatoes with Coriander (44le). Makanek is oriental sausage which was amazingly complimented by the delectable sweet taste of the pomegranate sauce. The Hot Potatoes with Coriander certainly had a fiery kick to them, they were cooked with olive oil, garlic, red peppers, spices and green chilli.
To cool my pallet I indulged in a non-alcoholic Diablo Mojito (30le) or two… mint, lime, strawberry, mojito. The drinks extensive menu was diverse and offered something for everyone ranging from juices, milkshakes, teas, coffees to wines and beers.
Having just eaten our body weight in food we decided to just sit and enjoy the ambience and the beautiful setting before starting on dessert. We were able to gaze out over the marina and just relax and breathe the warm sea air. The seats are covered with big soft cushions encouraging you to sit, eat and watch the world go by. While we were sat enjoying the still of the night there were guests inside watching the football while enjoying their food. Inside there are high tables and chairs and a large TV screen where they regularly show live football matches.
Entertaining is a fundamental part of the Lebanese culture and they pride themselves on their generous hospitality. They certainly know how to throw a party!!! On selected Fridays, there is a DJ and belly dancer and on Saturdays, they have the soulful sounds of Vanni with either guitar or jazz piano accompanied by his splendid vocals. There is happy hour offers on during the week, these change regularly so we joined the restaurants Facebook page so we could keep up to date.
Having spent the best part of an hour relaxing, people watching and smoking shisha we decided to indulge our taste buds a little more with dessert. My dinner companion ordered Om Ali (48le), an Egyptian classic as old as time, translated as Ali’s mother. Legend has it that Om Ali is named after Sultan Ezz El-Din Aybak’s wife from the 13th century. She cooked the dish for a victory celebration and distributed it among the people of the land, her name stuck to the dish ever since. It is an Egyptian flat bread or pastry mixed together with nuts and raisins before being drenched in sweetened milk and cream and grilled to perfection. Mazagounas version was crunchy and caramelised on top yet deliciously creamy and silky underneath. I enjoyed the Crepe with Nutella (48le), the perfect end to our spectacular dining experience.
Our waiter was extremely helpful and encouraged us to return during the day to enjoy breakfast. They start serving breakfast from 9 am till 2 pm where the dinner menu comes in to play serving till midnight on week nights and 2 am at weekends. This is certainly a multi-functional venue where you can enjoy breakfast, romantic dinners, group dining, live music and football and we loved the fact that the place was big enough for all of these to happen at the same time yet not influence the others.
Overall we were amazed with our evening and that each dish seemed to have been lovingly created to reflect a little piece of Lebanon. Every mouthful was designed to be a taste sensation of learning and understanding of the culture and ethos of the Lebanon cuisine. Their refined home-style cuisine was served with unpretentious abundance but it was the warm ambience and atmosphere that made Mazagouna so different, we truly were welcomed as a member of the family.