This week, James McKean and Tom Ough head to Le Kesh on Cowley Road
only a year since the opening of Lebanese and Moroccan restaurant and bar Le Kesh, but it’s easy to see why it already commands such popularity. Located on vibrant Cowley Road, Kesh offers a taste of the exotic in relaxing surroundings.
A warm welcome was swiftly followed by starters, with the fatoush, a mixed salad with toasted khobez bread, a refreshing introduction to Moroccan cuisine. Our mains were Chicken Tagine, a slow cooked chicken stew spiced with prunes and almonds, and a meatball dish.
Unveiled theatrically, steam billowing, both offerings were notable for the full taste of the sauces and the quality of the meat – Le Kesh take pride in their sourcing of high-grade ingredients. The slow-cooked lamb, we’re told, is also to be recommended, as a speciality of both the cuisine and the restaurant. Even the rice seems to have something about it, an enticing flavour particular to Le Kesh.
But it is after a satisfying meal that the restaurant really comes into its own. Bowls emptied, the lounge area beckons; scattered sofas and tables, protected from the elements with tasteful (and, thankfully, waterproof!) coverings, provide a relaxing space to enjoy tapas, drinks, or shisha.
The Moroccan-imported pipes can be loaded with tobacco of various fruity flavours, and offer a sweet sensual experience quite unlike your the less exotic post-dinner fag. Growing numbers of students come simply for the lounge area rather than a full meal, and this is an experience worth spending an afternoon on.
With mains under a tenner, prices are low enough to keep students coming back for more, and this goes for the shisha too. But with or without the lounge, the hype surrounding Le Kesh is more than just hot air.