It was pouring it down with rain and was damn cold and miserable, so what better than to head for a taste of the exotic sunshine at a Middle Eastern Cafe. Despite the darkening conditions, the Tarboush Cafe stands out on Market Street in Loughborough with its warm Persian colours and frontage. It was really quite inviting.
As you walk into Tarboush you pass through their outside patio area and it is like walking through a middle eastern alley way, you could easily forget that you were in the middle of Loughborough and you could even forget that it was pouring with rain up above. It was too cold though to sit out there on this day so luckily there is still a small cafe area inside with about 8 tables that you can keep warm in.
The flyer that I had from Tarboush told me that “The menu offers an array of tantalizing tastes and light refreshing bites which will take you on a journey from Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, Morroco to Turkey and Greece and back”. I was hoping so as that all sounded jolly tasty and my mouth was watering just thinking about some middle eastern spiceiness.
Their menu is quite extensive and regional. There were several freshly made Middle Eastern Sandwich and Wrap Meal options. We could not really decide which sandwich we wanted so decided to get two and split them. The owner very kindly offered to split them for us which was great as then we gof half of each of the same plate and both got the sides that went with each. The first sandwich was the “Palestinian Mosakhan Chicken” this was sliced chicken breast marinated with traditional Mediterranean herbs, fried onion and olive oil, all wrapped up in a grilled Lebanese pita bread. It came with a seasonal salad and some homous. The second sandwich was the “Lebanese Arayes Lamb” This was a grilled traditional village bread stuffed with marinated mince lamb, traditional herbs, spices and tomato slices. This also was with the salad, and also a dollop of tzatziki yoghurt.
I liked the Mosakhan Chicken best out of the two, it was well balanced and had a good spicy kick to the chicken. It was a more substantial mouthful and had more contrasting textures. You could eat the sandwich on its own without the accompaniments. I did like the Lebanese Lamb sandwich also, but this was a much flatter affair and I found myself dipping it and mopping up both the tzatziki and the homous as I ate this one. It was a good idea to share the two sandwiches though as you got a more contrasting meal.
If there are a few of you then you could take advantage of one of their platter options, or a Mezzeh selection. They do offer these for two people and even a platter for one, but to be honest that looked like just too much food for me for lunch.
It was only after we left that I found out that Tarboush is the Arabic name for a fez or a red hat. That now makes sense as there were loads of Red Fez all over the place. I had thought that I was at a Tommy Cooper or Dr Who convention for a brief moment (Just me there then).
Ok so where is Tarboush? It is at 12A Market Street in Loughborough, you can locate them via their website at http://www.tarboushcafe.com and they have a Facebook page. In addition to the main cafe and resturant which is down that alleyway, there is also an Express takeaway shop at the front on the street as well.