La Mère, the name speaks for itself. Translated as “the mother” it makes you feel cozy and warm, expecting a great menu made with love in the heart of Valletta.
“Love your food!” is the motto of the restaurant where I had the luck to have a delicious traditional dinner. And “traditional” does not only include Maltese – the chef is also specialized in Indian, Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine.
As the venue is rather small and doesn’t provide too many tables, I would always recommend to make a reservation. After 8pm the place was crowded, being quite popular as it seems.
When you check the extraordinary and well-designed menu, keep an eye out for the lovely write-up by the owner and chef about his journey of having his own restaurant and its name “La Mère”.
Each offered cuisine, except Maltese, had enough choices of vegetarian dishes, even delicious starters with dips and breads. Other dietary concerns can always be mentioned and the best dishes will be suggested. The staff was actually very helpful with that and concerned about our requests.
The menu also provided a glosser to retaliate everything unfamiliar and explanations of the certain cuisines in general. A very clever idea as I experienced too often in Indian or Arabic restaurants that I had to ask or look up every third word for its meaning.
Without collusion or noticing my friend and I ordered the same dish: Paneer Tikka with Paneer, onions, capsicum, tomatoes, marinated in yogurt, ginger garlic paste, cumin and coriander. All was cooked in the tandoori (ancient style clay oven).
Every dish is served with fitting sides, ours, the sizzlers, were either with pilau rice for me or couscous salad for my friend, naan bread and a fresh yogurt and cucumber dip.
Waiting time for the food was acceptable, as what we got served looked too good. The Paneer Tikka was served on a hot plate with some greens and immediately spread a tasty smell/aroma. Its taste prove to be even more delicious. Cumin gave a great flavour and I loved the idea of marinating vegetables in yogurt.
The paneer was good enough, I just don’t think it has much taste in general (are me and my friend the only ones?). The rice was refined with cloves and anise – great seasoning and a bit christmassy already.
My friend especially indulged in the naan bread, which was warm and buttery on top – she had to order a second bowl of dip which went very well with it.
As there was still a tiny bit of space in our stomaches, we had some dessert, too. Pista Kulfi: homemade Indian ice cream flavoured with saffron, pistachios and cardamom and homemade Baklava: an Arabic/ Turkish pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup served with one scoop vanilla ice cream.
Both had their own special taste and were very good. It’s exciting to see which different spices and level of sweetness are used in different cuisines.
We had a great evening at La Mère and couldn’t complain about anything! Next time we will take another friend, who loves hot curry and will definitely not be disappointed – I am certain of it.
La Mère, 174 Merchant Street, Valletta