With people podding green beans and filling little clay pots with cumin, paprika and salt, I sat down for coffee with Sam and Sam Clark to hear about their latest book the Morito cookbook.
The new book is a collection of recipes from Morito restaurant, shot by Sam and the staff’s camera phones over a number of years. With pictures of the restaurant and London’s Exmouth Market, the book is not only a wonderful cookbook, but a snapshot of a wicked time and place in London.
‘The trip was a real adventure. On the way to the Sahara, when the road became dunes, a lorry went past us and a stone flicked up and broke our windscreen, so we had to push it out. There are photos of us with turbans on to keep the sand and insects out of our eyes. We finally got to this place in the middle of the desert and then over night there was a sandstorm that covered the whole van, including the inside in about 20cm of sand.’ Sam was talking about the trip he made with Samantha just after they got married in 1996 to Spain, Morocco, through the Sahara and back again, whilst Moro, their first restaurant, was being finished.
‘We were on a mission’ said Samantha, who after taking a random job at The Eagle, met Sam and so began their love affair with Spanish and Moorish food and each other. Moro restaurant opened, taking all the inspiration the two chefs picked up from their fabulous journey.
‘ We wanted a timeless restaurant, serving food that was rooted in history, not trendy, just classic home cooking and street food. The same with the space.’ After 17 years, Sam and Sam Clark have nailed it with Moro. It is a classic restaurant serving innovative, delicious food that is worth going back for time and time again. ‘Our customers have evolved with us and become more adventurous. They know they can come in and things might look a little whacky but they trust us.’
After the success of Moro Sam and Sam Clark decided to turn their sublet space next door into a small restaurant. Based on the back street tapas bars of Spain they loved so much. Morito launched serving small plates of tapas and Moorish meze. This little restaurant is awesome. It’s fun, delicious and lively and exactly where you want to be eating.
‘It’s the alchemy of the people working there, the food, the space, the lovely customers and the energy of London. We’re proud of Morito and love going there.’ Said Sam and it is exactly that energy and fabulous food that is celebrated in their new Morito cookbook.
Their new book Morito cookbook is a wonderful collection of small plate recipes that you can make at home, from Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt.
With so many dishes to choose from, I asked Sam and Sam Clark to pick three that summed up feast from their Morito cookbook. Samantha, thank god, said beetroot Borani. A beetroot, dill and feta glory from Iran that is just about the best accompaniment to bread and anything. Next was Sam’s potatoes with mojo verde. Blistered waxy potatoes doused in a madly green, tangy sauce made with coriander, green chillies and vinegar. And finally Samantha chose the lamb chops, transformed with the classic Moroccan mix of paprika, cumin and salt. What a mix!
Best ingredient – 3 cornered wild garlic
Best spice mix – Mix of toasted cumin and smoked paprika
Favourite country – Spain right now
Favourite restaurant in London – Mayfield’s
Last meal – The little restaurant at the end of the pier in Palamós serving red prawns
Morito cookbook by Sam and Sam by Ebury Press is out now £26 available on Amazon
You can catch Sam and Sam Clark at Wilderness festival this summer at the Moro Souk Tent