***I was invited for review purposes. All thoughts and words are my own. If I didn’t love it I’d let you know. ***
Mama Shelter is gorgeous from the moment it comes into view. It’s a huge charcoal grey corner building on Hackney Road in the heart of East London. It somehow manages to look modern and imposing yet so inviting because of all of the foliage and lights.
Stepping inside you’re greeted by a roaring fire and some of the comfiest looking chairs and sofas I’d ever seen. I didn’t dare sit down to wait for Steph because I was concerned I’d never get up again. The line between comfortable, cosy and oh, so stylish is tread with expert precision and I was drawn in straight away.
I had a choice of sitting in the Garden Bar (which is covered, so no need to worry about adverse weather) or the restaurant. I decided to wait in the restaurant so I could see Steph arrive and then make a decision but because I’m a bit of a people watcher, it soon became apparent the best people-watching was going to be done in the restaurant. Especially as I could see the reception from where I sat so I could see everyone coming and going.
We started with a Mama needs a G&T (what is pretty much my catchphrase) and a Burning Mule cocktail. The G&T was made with pink grapefruit tonic and was really fresh and crisp and the Burning Mule was burnt orange vodka with spicy ginger beer and lime. It had a kick but was really good and they both went down really easily, especially with the accompaniment of the gorgeous charcuterie board. The meat was tender and salty, the pickles and figs cut through perfectly and the flatbread and celeriac remoulade were delicious accompaniments.
I followed this up with the Cardamom Paneer kebab with flatbread and Steph went for the Chicken Za’atar with Tabbouleh. They were both packed full of flavour. The beetroot raita was sweet and tasty and the paneer was cooked perfectly with a little bit of crisp to the outside. The Chicken Za’atar was soft and tender and the harissa yoghurt added a really nice punch of heat and spice. We shared a portion of chips too and the aioli was one of the best I’ve ever tried. Trust me when I say I’m an aioli expert. It’s one of my favourite things in the world.
We washed down our kebabs with a Candy Shop Daquiri to share and I warn you now, that is one dangerous cocktail! It was so smooth and juicy, it went down so, so easily. I could have easily drunk the whole carafe to myself! It was pretty much just like drinking juice, really good juice!
My sweet tooth decided I had to have a dessert and when I spotted a chocolate brownie and ice cream sandwich I knew there was no other option for me. Steph opted for Mama’s Tiramisu after a bit of pushing from me and I felt a bit guilty when they came because she was going to pick the ice cream sandwich too. I have to say though, this was the least impressive course of the whole dinner. The brownie was more of a cookie and the tiramisu was a little on the runny side. But, even though the consistency wasn’t quite as we expected for either of them, the taste was really good.
All in all, I’m desperate to go back and check out the rooms and work my way through the rest of that dinner menu. I really struggled over which kebab to try and there’s at least two more on there that I fancied. Also, they do a bottomless roast dinner on a Sunday and I bloody love a good roast!
I’m pretty sure Mama hasn’t seen the back of me yet and I’m even tempted to pick myself up some Mama merch!