The Sultan's Tent
Nelson: Honestly this post was next in the queue. Technically in Africa, but considered an Arabic country I'm featuring more Middle Eastern type food but this time from Morocco. They really advertise the whole experience of eating out with belly dancing and a nicely decorated interior. Both are well done and made it an unique experience. The dancers start with their faces hidden in elaborate costumes and eventually go around to every table for a little instruction in belly dancing. But enough about dance, I'm here to talk about the food!
The restaurant is setup for a four course dinner for $39.95. Naturally Kitty and I picked different items so that we could experience the most variety.
Kitty had the duck confit salad (for an extra $4.95) described as baby lettuces and chopped romaine, dressed with a Champagne-pomegranate vinaigrette, tossed with fresh fine cut vegetables, cherry tomatoes and tangerines. Garnished with a toasted crostini. Can anyone verify the authenticity of this dish, as it doesn't sound like a Moroccan dish. It did seem like something I would make at home, but at least the duck pieces were really tasty and not something I have tried to make at home.
The next dish is a traditional Moroccan dish called Harira desribed as a hearty tomato based broth, with chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and a blend of Moroccan spices. It had a lot of flavour with a bit of welcome spice. I'm not sure what the noodle-like things in the soup were as they were a bit mushy and strange for me. But no matter, the soup tasted great like a tomato/beef stew with some spice.
Trying to stay as Moroccan as possible the next thing we tried was something called B'Stilla. It is described as a classic Moroccan pastry both savory and sweet, filled with chicken, eggs, almonds, crushed pistachios, caramelized onions and saffron, lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon (must add $4.95). The pastry was similar to phyllo-like material that was pleasant to eat. It was filled with huge chunks of chicken (a tad dry) but what made it really unique were the nuts and then the strongly tasting cinnamon. Definitely a unique combination of ingredients but still tasted good.
The next Moroccan item is called Maftoul, described as hand rolled "Moroccan Cigars", hot crispy pastry stuffed with a mixture of mildly spiced beef, cashews and raisins, topped with their chipotle aioli. I have to reference these to something I know well and that happens to be spring rolls. I really liked the spices in the beef, but not so much the texmex-like mayo.
My main course was the Couscous Royale for an extra $6.95. It is described as a tender grilled beef kebob with two merguez sausages and their traditional chicken Marrakesh. Served over seasoned couscous with seasonal vegetables. The sausage was a tad dry as the meat was fairly lean, but I was surprised to find out that it was all lamb meat. I tasted a little bit of the lamb but thought it was blended. I liked it more and more as I ate as the unique spices really stood out.
The beef skewer was good too, but not as strongly spiced. The beef flavour came through and the meat was very tender which is difficult to do for a skewer. I wonder if they cook it a long long time to get it like that.
My favourite part of the meal was Marrakesh chicken on the right. The plum/apricot jam on top went so perfectly well with the moist chicken. I couldn't believe how moist the chicken was, especially compared to the red meat on the plate which is usually more moist. This super moist chicken was the best part of the meal. Next time I'll just order this dish on its own!
The Couscous itself was fine in texture and pretty good. It was pretty mild in flavour which I prefer and helped balance the flavourful meats. The veggies were very typical.
Kitty had the Moroccan beef short rib described as tender fall off the bone beef, braised with Moroccan spices, finished with a rich red wine demi-glace and served with Yukon gold garlic mash accompanied by seasonal vegetables. I didn't think this dish was unique in any way. The sauce was like a typical beef based gravy just with a very slight Moroccan spice to it. Wouldn't be surprised to see this served in a Western style restaurant. At least it was tender as advertised.
We tried a few drinks as well such as Fez Royale, a blend of pomegranate, passion fruit and sparkling wine ($9.95). Kitty had the Tamuda Bay with Absolut raspberri vodka and Chambord with grapefruit juice and a Galliano float ($12.95). Mine tasted like a mimosa while Kitty's tasted like candy.
To finish the meal, we had some Moroccan treats with traditional mint tea service.
Moroccan treats turned out to be sugar cookies with the white one completely plain, the top right one had a hint of cinnamon and the bottom right one with some pistachio. A little disappointing.
The mint tea not surprisingly tasted strongly of mint. It was sweet too.
I can't verify the authenticity of the dishes here, but there were definitely a few unique items that also happened to be tasty. A little pricey, but overall it made for a fun dining experience.
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