Perched halfway up City Road, at first glance, Mezza Luna doesn’t look too different from the countless other grill houses this part of Cardiff is so well known for. However, this unsuspecting restaurant was recently named Best Kebab House in Wales 2017; although it’s a step up from the kind of kebab you’d usually associate with City Road.
Fragrant, meaty aromas waft up from the open charcoal grill and fill the restaurant, while belly dancers shimmy from side to side as you eat your meal (only available on Friday and Saturday nights). A menu focused on classic Lebanese hot/cold mezze and grilled meat dishes also boasts a tantalising range of Moroccan tagines.
A plate of hot, salty sujuk (garlicky beef sausage with spices) and grilled halloumi (£4.95) was devoured in a matter of minutes.
Meanwhile, calamari (£4.50) was coated in a golden, crispy batter so light it literally melted in our mouths, while the flesh was fresh and juicy. It was paired with a garlic aioli sauce so irresistible, we just couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve only recently begun to like calamari and I wouldn’t usually order a whole portion to myself, but I’d happily have eaten a plateful of this.
Garlic bread and cheese (£2.95) took the form of a wedge of white bloomer loaf, heavily laden with mildly tangy grilled cheese and topped with freshly chopped parsley.
The star of the show was a comforting Berber tagine of lamb shank, braised carrot, parsnip, swede, sweet potato and butternut squash in an exotic Moroccan sauce, packed with piquant Ras el hanout spices (£13.95). Just the smell of the steam rising up from the dish was enough to make me drool…
Next up, the duck shawarma (£12.95) – the kind of dish that makes you do a double-take when you see it on the menu. I’ve wanted to try this ever since I read about it in a review of Mezza Luna by fellow blogger, The Plate Licked Clean.
Heaps of sliced, pan-fried duck breast lay sprawled over a soft Lebanese flatbread, accompanied by iceberg lettuce, black olives, cucumber, tomato, pickled peppers and lemon wedges, finished with pomegranate molasses. The duck meat was tender and juicy, whilst the skin was deliciously thin and crispy. This exceeded expectations and filled me up so much, I didn’t eat a single morsel until late afternoon the following day.
We also shared a portion of fluffy saffron rice (£2.50); although with hindsight this wasn’t needed, given the size of our main courses.
So, if you fancy trying something a little different to City Road’s usual kebab offering, head to Mezza Luna. Unlike most of the other kebab shops nearby, you can order alcohol here too, so why not make a night of it? Order a few hot and cold mixed mezze to pick at, or get stuck in with a meaty main course.
159 City Rd
(029) 2047 2772
Have you ever tried Moroccan or Lebanese food before? Let me know your favourite dish in the comments below.