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Nargile Lounge

Nargile seems to be exciting a lot of people. Its dirty exterior, the extensive wait and the less than exciting food left Mona Farrugia cold.  [Restaurant Review Malta]

Editor rating
2.0 User rating
3.0 (1)

Leonard Cohen has the amazing quality of sounding like he is suffering from a big stonking depression when he sings. His songs give me the impression that he has spent the entire night smoking and drinking before passing out then  putting pen to paper. Yet somehow I find his songs uplifting.  I have no idea whether this is because, I feel better by proxy or whether there is some kind of ethereal quality to the singing and the composition that make my heart lighter. I defy you to listen to ‘In my secret life’ and not want to do crazy things which involve taking your clothes off.

This is the bit where you play around with your chin bum fluff and contemplate my words of wisdom or otherwise scuttle off to to check what on earth I’m talking about.

Which, really, is what you may want to do with Nargile Lounge in Marsascala, barring the youtube bit. I have been getting ‘great’ reports from Funs for the past four weeks.  ‘You must go back’ they told me, knowing I'd already been when the place was called Shisha. As they recount the never-ending list of items they have eaten I wickedly look at their stomachs and wonder about the open button.

One of the Funs actually professed to be running through the entire list. ‘I started at the top and am moving daily to the bottom. When I’m ready, I’ll start over’.  This was serious love, my peeps. I dragged The Writer over.

Nargile used to be called something else, although the ‘concept’, tenuous at best, is a little nuts and has not changed. It is ‘Arab’ (or as they call it, Arabian), Indian and Mediterranean.  Now, we all know that bonding Malta & Gozo can be difficult, that even from across the street, mamme in Italy argue about how a traditional recipe should be constructed, so to put together Northern Africa, the Middle East, a huge sub-Continent, and anything as diverse as Croatia and Tunisia is, let’s be kind and say ‘tough’. Nargile actually means 'shishah' or 'hookah pipe' in Turkish. Confused yet?

In fact, blending all these cuisines together is probably tougher than climbing Everest and deep-sea diving in Hurghada at the same time. Nonetheless, I had to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt. They still have the concept of charging a corkage fee for the bring-your-own wine which I do wish more restaurants of this calibre would adopt.

To greet you is a shambles of an entrance.  I have no idea why they have let this happen, but darlings, it’s just not nice. There is a white, sucky sucky machiney thing waiting to grab your bum as you’re going in. It looks like a little tumble drier. The ashtrays outside were too small and overflowing, so the concept of eating outside, of smoking the lovely shisha, of sitting in the cold for a fag are all dragged into the mire of dirt. Yes, it just looks dirty.

Next door is a crazy place full of tweens, parents and grandparents dancing to cowboy music. If you find this kind of thing funny, you will laugh. If you have ever been inside, you should not be reading this.

The food, when it eventually turns up, is not god awful. But it is certainly not the kind of thing that will have me running back to the restaurant. It took almost an hour to turn up, which, the Funs inform me, is normal. Yeah, cheers guys; thanks a lot. The service is friendly, caring almost, but the kitchen and the front-of-house are not communicating.  Now that I’ve watched 972 editions of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, I know that much.

TW’s lentil soup was thin and lacked oomph. My arabian soup was also thin and the pieces of lamb sparse, the flavour lacking. Both – someone please explain this one to me – had bits of what seemed to be chopped up spaghetti in them.  As my friend Lexi would say ‘But for why?!’.

The tagine was awful. It turned up – again, half an hour later – in a cold little tagine, those funnel-topped pottery containers which we all buy from Tunisia (or used to, when Tunisia was cheaper to go to than Gozo) obviously not having been cooked in the actual recipient, but put together in it later for show.

Tagines, the food, the process of long, slow, spicy cookery, rather than clay versions, need love, they need time. This did not get any of either. Instead, it had 3 pieces of dried out, over-sealed, lamb, surrounded by what seemed to be sour smelling tomatoes and a couple of pieces of carrot. I could not stomach it. Real tagine is wonderful, aromatic and redolent of cinnamon.  Hani Harb had given me a recipe in his time at Ali Baba: it was just wondrous. His tagine was wondrous, actually. This was not even a starter: I took the whole thing home and fed it to Mrs. Mia Wallace.

The Writer asked for a fish curry. The Indian waiter told him three times that he should have rice with it.  Honeys, if the punter says no, it means no. Don’t make him tell you over and over that it is ok that there is a lot of sauce in the recipe. We know that. Eventually TW caved in and they gave him a curry-encrusted fish. It did not seem like a fresh fish to me, but the portion was enormous.

The staff, and the manager (who seemed like the owner) was amazed that we told them to wrap up practically the entire thing to take away.  The dessert choices were a little dire so we couldn’t be bothered. If you love Nargile and are working through its menu, what can I say? Good luck to you. Unlike the Terminator,  I won’t be back.

Additional Information


Address Triq tal-Gardiel
Country Malta


Cuisine FusionIndianTurkish

Contact Details

Contact Number 35621636734


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Mona Farrugia
December 21, 2010
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3.0   (1)
David Grima
April 25, 2011
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Although the interior design is nothing special, it can be considered considerably pleasant. The seating is very comfortable and the waiters are very polite and pleasant. The menu is varied and offers a large variety of Indian, Arabian and Mediterranean cuisine. I opted for the Indian which is very cheap indeed and a curry cost justs 5 Euros. Although the food might not be as good as other (more expensive) Indian restaurants, it is very tasty indeed and the bread is divine.

As a dessert I opted for the chocolate cake which was huge and delicious. I recommend this restaurant as it a very pleasant and economical night out !!

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