You might have heard about Azou through their appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s show, or from the extensive range of accolades that they’ve accumulated over the years (which adorn their Hammersmith storefront). For us at @Plananeat though, Azou is famous for being the site of our last and proper food outing – before all this craziness began! Fortunately though, the lockdown does seem to be easing; and fortunately for us, Azou was a pleasant and memorable experience for us to mark that final pre-lockdown meal.
Food - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Value for Money - 7/10
Critically acclaimed and quaint family owned restaurant serving delicious North African cuisine.
Price range: ££
Telephone: 020 8563 7266
Address: 375 King St, Hammersmith, W6 9NJ
Nearest Station: Stamford Brook
Right off the bat I should say that Azou was crowned the best North African restaurant in “Ramsay’s Best Restaurant Awards 2010”, and was a semifinalist in all other categories. A stellar reputation – albeit nearly 10 years ago. Did it live up to its reputation in 2020? We thought so!
Azou’s menu is a colourful and tasty coming together of Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian cuisine. The family run restaurant has a variety of well-known North African dishes to pick from, and it’s a spot where visitors will be well-catered for and well-taken care of. Inside you’ll find a traditionally furnished restaurant with low sweeping ceiling arches, desert colour walls, which are faintly illuminated by lanterns throughout the restaurant. You’ll find a mix of low rise and conventional seating, and the general ambience felt warm and welcoming. One of the key pillars of Azou is the customer service, and the hospitality we received from staff made our overall experience all the more pleasant.
Although their appearance on Gordon Ramsay was nearly a decade ago, it is nice to see how consistent the restaurant has stayed both in appearance and in quality. This isn’t a restaurant that needs to reinvent itself every few years to stay fresh – it is an old-fashioned, quaint and well-run restaurant which attracts repeat customers. On arrival you will see their claim to fame – at least two or three dozen individual awards from well established brands.
The menu at Azou covers a range of different meats but there are vegetarian options as well as fish if you prefer including tagines. On my visit I opted for the chicken couscous which consisted of a boneless chicken breast, and a selection of vegetables sitting on a bed of steamed couscous. It was a filling meal but one that largely consisted of couscous; for the price, I had expected two chicken breasts, but the meal was flavoursome and filing all the same. The cost of the dish (£15) and the menu in general I think is priced up a little due to the shop’s reputation. One thing I really enjoyed about my meal was the vegetable broth, which you could drink as a soup on its own or pour over your couscous and vegetables while you ate it. The soup added a lot of flavour to the dish, it was aromatic, spiced well and very hearty and warming. A side of chilli paste was available as well, which accompanied the dish well; on the whole I had a very well balanced meal. The gently cooked vegetables combined with the vegetable broth added a nice texture to the dish too, aside from the chicken and couscous.
The only two small blemishes on my experience were regarding service and price. Firstly, I do want to repeat that the customer service was exceptional and the waiter made four new friends by the time we left the shop, but we did encounter a little delay in the time that our food took to arrive. But, it should be noted that the restaurant was full to the brim with full covers, so there were other factors affecting this. The second point, regarding the price, is a bit tricker to balance. My chicken couscous main cost £15, and although I found it delightful, it did feel a bit too dear especially for a dish that consisted of 50% couscous!
But like I said, those are small blemishes. Post-lockdown we as @Planandeat will go to Azou again; the group came away well-fed and well taken care of. The restaurant is perfect for groups of four or more, but if you are going as a two hoping for a quiet meal you should be prepared for a lot of chitter-chatter from other tables.
Speak to you next time!