Published Author, magazine and newspaper article writer. Healthy foodie trekker traveller sailor skier and scuba diver and golf lover. Wellness Coach by day (wellnesswoman.com.au) and writer reviewer in my spare time.
Published May 27th 2013
Fives Senses in Moroccan Spanish Food
A recent and alluring restaurant, where Marakesh mystique meets Sydney.
We are greeted warmly by the owner of Afous – Omar, who was responsible for many fine establishments in Sydney (The Mosquito Bar, Dar Essalem Casalanca, Out of Africa, Tajine and most recently Souk in the City). Afous was opened at the Spit in Mosman in 2012.
Born in Morocco and raised in the kitchens of Casablanca, Omar arrived on Australian shores in 1987and has been delighting Sydneysiders with the taste of Morocco ever since.
Once we are seated we are asked to cup our palms and a blend of lavender and rose water is dropped to cleanse our hands. We all smile, even the two men, at this cheerful tradition. The atmosphere is busy but not noisy. The spacious dining area and bars are acoustically friendly. Plenty of glass allows spectacular views across Middle Harbour Marina on both sides of the Spit. The lights of nearby properties twinkle as the glasses clink inside the restaurant marred only by the sound of cheery talk and laughter.
My partner and I are dining with friends who suggested Afous, as they had been recommended to come here. We decided on a choice of tapas to share as our entree, and a main meal each to follow.
To start we had grilled scallops with corn salsa, mild chilli and prawn oil, potato aioli, deep fried potatoes served with garlic and parsley mayonnaise, and grilled haloumi with semi-caramelised vine ripened tomato with sweet mustard dressing. Tapas start at $9.00 to $15.90.
Everything was delicious – the salsa with the scallops spicy and crunchy, the potatoes like mini-mini roasts divine in the aioli and haloumi cheese (a healthy option), what a wonderful mouth watering treat it was.
For mains our friends ordered seafood b'stilla, layers of crispy filo pastry vermicelli, combination of seafood in spicy Moorish spices and Moroccan meatballs, aromatic chermoula, coriander and slivered almonds. They actually ate half of each and swapped plates. A nice idea. The meatballs were served in a hot tajine and there were plenty of them.
We had saffron chicken cooked with preserved lemon, onion tomato and olives, also served in a smoking hot tajine, and the last dish a Merquez du Afous, lamb with perfumed herbs and minted yoghurt. A cous cous accompaniment was suggested and was so soft and fluffy my partner and I were amazed, having not previously been cous cous fans. We were converted to this tasty delicate side dish. Mains cost between $24.90 to $29.90.
Lots of approving noises emanated from the table as we began to dig in to our meals and swap plates and offer forkfuls of food to the other. Every last crumb of the cous cous was eaten and washed down with our own BYO Spanish red eine. Corkage is $6 per bottle. We were very happy indeed with the food, a lovely change from the norm. We did not have dessert as we were truly satiated.
The service and attention was unparalleled in my view, with all of the wait staff and the owner ensuring we were satisfied without being intrusive and the smiling manner was evidence of their passion for ensuring the patrons enjoy the best possible experience of all the senses. Afous means hand – five fingers relating to all the senses. And it is a sensual delight in this way. We could have been thousands and thousands of miles away in Morocco.
It is a great place to take the whole family, friends or for a romantic dinner as a couple. However, booking is highly recommended as the restaurant was full. All in all we had a fabulous night with great company and fabulous surrounds and food.