Whilst walking down Bold street, perusing the gentrified delicacies of the day and I find myself tripping upon what is no exception to the rule. A quaint abode, at least that is the thoroughly strong impression it gives to me, presents itself to myself (excuse the clunk of turn of phrase, I have had a brief sabbatical from reviewing, and am still on the way to being ‘in the swing of it’).
Notice above, the particular font, of which the owners and purveyors of this establishment spent ages comparing and painstakingly deciding on (…egg-shell or off-white, I hear you yell…) for the delight of the casual passer-by to entice them in to taste Maray’s rich luxuries. The italicization on cocktails lets us know they are special, the ‘x’s to break up words allow us to imagine the possibilities of multiplication by falafel, and what that may look like.
It specialises in middle eastern/Israeli food, screaming ‘understated’ louder than the juxtaposing boom of concert square standing opposite and screaming ‘let’s ‘ave ya’. It strives to appeal to those not wanting to be seen craving that most divine of delicacies, the kebab, yet will provide them with one in a covert fashion. Much like an expense escort service for the refined gentleman, who is still fully in the knowledge he will be getting a seductively happy ending.
Maray claims ‘small plates’ are its delicacy, and on entry we feel we have been slightly duped, that is to say tricked, when the waitress asks the heart-wrecking, stomach-churning, wagamama-inducing question “…Have you been to Maray before…” in that way that implies that this place has an odd quirk to it compared to elsewhere, which you better adapt too. But alas, it is merely her kind way of saying this is a middle eastern tapas bar, but they don’t use the words tapas, because of the marketing feat that it would be too easy to associate with the Mediterranean cuisine and mess with people’s minds.
One is seduced on entry by the typically bare walls and industrial lighting, as if Maray’s establishers had been rushed at the end of the outfitting of the restaurant. This suits myself perfectly, as currently I will not been seen dead in a coffee shop or roastery that does not have exposed brick – I feel soon it may be necessary to extend the same rule to all places of habiting.
The food, it’s worth mentioning, was an absolute delight. I would thoroughly recommend it, especially their lunchtime menu, which was wraps, a drink and a side. The sides were where the real enthusiasm for cooking lay, exquisite root vegetables over-burdened with hummus and variations on hummus. And all that only at the price of about £8.50. The tapas were more expensive, but this place does deviate from the normal grub on Bold street, and they are keen to immerce your taste-buds in something Israeli and subtly new, whilst keeping the décor generically hipster, like some sort of post-modern appropriate of fusion cuisine.