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La Goulette is the only purely Tunisian restaurant in England, according to new owner and chef Alex Mahfoudh.
Beautifully decorated with Tunisian wall tiles and coloured lanterns, the Kilburn restaurant is one of the best places to experience a taste of Tunisia without leaving London.
“I feel like I’m in Tunisia, that’s why I love it,” says Mahfoudh, a Tunisian who has spent half his life in London. “It’s Tunisia in London.”
Last night we sat under the canopy at the front of the restaurant and enjoyed an evening of Tunisian hospitality.
We started off with some typical Tunisian mezze dishes, including salad ommuk huria (cooked, crushed carrots with harissa and spices) and vegetarian brick (a deep-fried filo parcel filled with mashed potatoes, egg and fresh parsley).
Next I enjoyed the vegetarian cous cous with vegetables and chickpeas, while my mum chose the lamb kousha: lamb with vegetables and saffron sauce cooked slowly and served in a clay pot.
I couldn’t finish the enormous portion of cous cous so the waitress kindly wrapped it up and gave me a doggy bag to take home.
We finished with some sticky baklava and a second glass of the Wardy Clas Blane Lebanese wine.
La Goulette is a sociable kind of place where you talk to people at neighbouring tables. We met two groups of locals, all visiting the restaurant for the first time.
Mahfoudh tells me there’s music and dancing every Friday and Saturday night (and they’re hoping to introduce belly dancing soon). I’m already planning my next visit.
La Goulette, 51 Willesden Lane, Kilburn, London, NW6 7RL. Tel: 020 7624 5800