Saturday, May 18, 2024

A weekly notebook about food during the Covid-19 shutdown. Remember, if you’re dining out, doing takeout or getting delivery, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.

Eat outside: Moona


The Oasis Patio at Inman Square’s Moona. (Photo: Moona via Facebook)

Covid-19 has been hard on businesses, and in particular restaurants (The Table at Season to Taste, Bergamot, Cuchi Cuchi and Parsnip are among those now gone from Cambridge). Inman Oasis, the bohemian bathhouse and spa, also recently shuttered, but the quaint, gardened alleyway that led to the recessed spa has been repurposed by neighboring eatery Moona. In what’s now affectionately tagged the Oasis Patio, you dine set back enough from the cars and fumes of Beacon Street that you do indeed feel as if you’re in a little urban oasis.

The regular menu at Moona, which bills itself as Eastern Mediterranean fare, had always been a blessed mix of small plates (mezze) such as Middle Eastern dips and spreads (hummus, tzatziki and whipped feta), lamb sliders and tender grilled octopus and bigger offerings that included a mixed grill, lamb chops and crusted fish. Much of that remains on the abbreviated Oasis Patio menu. The lamb chops are gone; so, sadly, is the octopus (and the reason I went there). But there are still the spreads, the Chicken Bastilla (a phyllo pastry stuffed with tender chunks of chicken surrounded by a savory gravy with almonds and ginger) and my recent discovery of the grilled squid – not to be confused with the grilled octopus, but perfect for summer. The squid comes cool as part of what I would describe as a heart of arugula salad garnished with avocado, radish (I pluck ’em out; it’s a texture thing), shallots and lemon juice. It’s my new reason to go to Moona.


The wine and short cocktail list feels well developed to complement the short menu, the season and the cozy outdoor setting. Moona’s owners hail from Lebanon and Morocco, and the legacy of the space is deep in another way: The site was the longtime home to Rosie’s Bakery, a classic area cafe, and was the Inman Square launching point for Legal Sea Foods, when it was a fish market and eatery side by side.

Moona (243 Hampshire St., Inman Square)