Blurb: the NCR gets its first Moroccan restaurant
Forget the relatively bland Lebanese cuisine that has done modestly well in our city. The real McCoy is the cuisine of North Africa, including Morocco and Tunisia. It is much closer to our palate and it is sure to be the Next Big Thing in food trends
Atmospherics: For a DoubleTree, hardly the most premium quill in the Hilton quiver, Casablanca could give a restaurant in a super luxury deluxe hotel a run for its money. Sit inside or out, the atmosphere is definitely Moorish, but it doesn’t look like a Moroccan dhaba. Instead, it is a chic, distilled essence of one of the more exotic, colourful places on the planet. The acronym MENA refers to Middle East North Africa. Clubbed together as a single identity, the atmosphere and music comes from around the region. The cuisine, thankfully, is pure Moroccan, with a young chef from the capital, Marrakesh.
Table Talk: Moroccan cuisine uses cumin, coriander, chilli and turmeric as well as cinnamon, so that gives it an edge for the Indian palate. In addition, all cold appetizers are entirely vegetarian. Moroccan harissa – the trademark chilli paste – is placed on the table at every meal. Most ‘salads’ (Rs 325) are cooked vegetables with the addition of lime juice or the juice of preserved lemons.
Medfouna (Rs 845) is a cross between a pie and a flaky paratha or Indonesian martabak with a filling of slow-cooked lamb, beef or vegetables. Highly recommended for an inexpensive main course (though it is billed as a hot starter, it is filling, after a range of cold starters). However, the real main courses are the unique tagines and grills. To be called a tagine, a combination of meat and vegetables have to be stewed in a clay pot with a conical lid called a tagine (just as kadhai paneer has to be made in a kadhai). Rabbit, archichoke and green peas (Rs 1325) is a savoury combination, while a slighter sweeter combination features quail, onions, raisins and almonds (Rs 895). The vegetarian version (Rs 795) contains batons of English vegetables, caramelized onions, raisins and chickpeas. All tagines are served with your choice of cous cous (the most authentic), Moroccan bread or steamed rice.
Plus and minus: This restaurant is going to redefine the way we look at a hitherto unexplored cuisine.
Food: 4 Décor: 4 Service 3.50
Hilton DoubleTree, Golf Course Road, Sector 56, Gurgaon
Tel: 91 124 491 1234
Open for dinner only 7.30-11.30 pm