Azou is a North African (Tunisian, Algerian & Moroccan) in Hammersmith London. There is no specific reason why I chose this as the first restaurant that I am reviewing but honestly, I made the right choice! It was a very good experience and a great way to start my restaurant review. I went with my sister (let me say this in advance, she is most likely going to be my review buddy so you will hear more about her in future review blogs as well) and we both had a great time. I absolutely enjoyed my experience at Azou, so see below for the full experience and why I recommend it.
The ambience at Azou is every bit of me. It's a small restaurant but provides a very intimate, calm and cool setting. Dark/duskyt lights, slow music, North African decor- this the ambience you get and I love it. It definitely gave me date night vibes but also place you can come to with friends as well. The ambience for me is 10/10. There's nothing to fault.
African restaurant (maybe more of western African) are known for not so great customer service. But at Azou, this is absolutely not the case. I was very pleased with the customer service I experienced. Notable one is where the very pleasant and nice waiter helped me in my choice of my mains on the menu- basically I was about to order what would've been too much for me to eat and possibly wouldn't have been a great combo. He was absolutely correct because when my food came I realised what a mistake that would've possibly been! So cheers to waiters that are not so money focused and want customers to actually enjoy the meal!
Another notable customer service I enjoyed was the chef coming out to ask if my sister and I enjoyed our starters and he did it with such humour that we loved and definitely put a nice touch to our experience there as well.
We ordered, starter, main and just soft drinks. I wanted to try the moroccan coffee and tea but maybe next time! The food was delicious and flavourful. Something that got me exicited me was the fact that I recognised the spice that was used in the food- Harrissa! It got me excited because it smells exactly like my ow home made harissa spice- it made feel like I yes I have an authentic spice! Check out my harissa spice out here.
Chakchouka- This is warm salad of grilled peppers, tomatoes, onions, chilli, herbs & spices with merguez (spiced lamb sausage). My sis had this and I also had a taste of it as well. It was so delicious and for someone who hadn,t had lamb before and was a bit skeptical, I really enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much I wished that was what I ordered and wanted a larger portion of it. My sister thought it was a bit balnd but I guess we have somewhat different palate. It also came with pita bread which went very well with salad. I will personally give it a 10/10. I'm also going to try and make this recipe myself- yup that's how much I enjoyed it!
Calamari- This is freshly prepared squid rings sautéed in spices - served with aioli. This was my starter and again I loved it! The aioli elevated this for me- it is such a beautiful combo. I even had the aioli with the pita bread from my sister's starter and it was delicious.
Tajine djej- this is chicken with vegetables in a tomato based sauce. You can't go to a north African restaurant and not have a Tajine based meal! From Azou's website- "A tajine is an earthenware dish with a distinctive conical lid, which allows the steam to condense back into the food to enhance its' flavour. The food that is cooked in it is also called a tajine." Tajine is very popular in North Africa so I knew this was something I definitely had to try. Although I went for the chicken Tajine, I wish I went for the the lamb tajine (Tajine Marrakech or Constantine tajine) because lamb is definitely the North Africans do well. But as I mentioned earlier, I've never really had lamb before and was worried I'd order something that I wouldn't like. But after trying the lamb sausage in my sister's Chakchouka and tasting how delicious it was, I did wish I went for lamb rather than the safe chicken option.
Tajine djej was nice- it's soupy so you can have it with pita bread which is what the waiter recommended. There are other sides options to have it with such as rice or couscous, but I believe the pita bread is the best option. Now this is where my palate might make me give this some not so great review about this but it doesn't mean it wasn't nice. I just wish it had more flavour and personally I'm really not a fan of soups. If it is not the ngoierian pepper soup then I most likely won't be a massive fan of it. So this is more to do with met palate rather than the quality of the food. Would I order it again? Probably not mainly because maybe I would've enjoyed it better if the soup was thicker. But again that's me and my palate- it is probably not meant to be cooked to be thick. If you are a fan of soups you might like this.
Chicken Couscous- this is raditional steamed couscous, vegetables & vegetable broth, with boneless chicken breast. Couscous is a North African staple and having tried out a Moroccan couscous recipe myself (check out my recipe here), I knew this would be something they do well. I had a taste from sister's and it was nice. I liked the vegetable broth that was poured over the couscous. I preferred the flavour of this compared to Tajine djej. There are other couscous options on the menu such as lamb couscous, vegetable couscous, Merguez (spicy lamb sausage). But we both kept it safe and went for chicken. But feel free to try out other options if that's what you prefer.
Overall, the food was good- good flavours and great portion sizes! So you are definitely getting your money's worth. Overall I'd give the food a 7/10. We ordered just soft drinks- Lemonade and orange juice, so nothing special to review for that one.
For both courses and drinks, we spent around £65 in total for both of us. I think this is fair, and the portion sizes was worth it as well. Not a bad price for 2 people & 2 course dinner.
I filled in an online booking form on their website to make my booking and as stated on their website, I got a phone call the following day to confirm that my booking has been made. It was easy and quick- and you can book it here
The restaurant is located on a high street and I don't really recall much parking spaces around apart from the residential areas. So I suggest its best to take a public transportation there. The nearest tube station is Hammersmith Station which is about 15 minutes walk way from the restaurant.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Azou and I will definitely be visiting again. It was perfect for me and I can barely fault any thing about it. So if you are like me and looking to try something different then I will highly recommend Azou. Overall I will give it an 8/10.
Please note, these reviews are all my personal views and I have not been paid to do so nor do I have any affiliation with the restaurants I review. This is just something I am doing as part of something I enjoy doing- eating out :)