Annie is a funny little foodie, living by the beach who loves to get out and about.
Published January 12th 2016
Warm, welcoming and worth it
Having heard good things about Marrakech, Hyde Park, I wanted to visit its successor in North Adelaide.
We are quickly seated in the busy restaurant. Our server is friendly and eager. We let her know it's our first time and ask for help ordering. Unfortunately, she did not know the menu very well and we were left to our own devices to decide while she fetched us a bottle of wine. Luckily this was to be the only hiccup in the night.
Our bouncy chef for the evening, Mohamad can be seen chatting with customers, refilling drinks and ensuring everyone is having a good time. Once he makes his way over to us and finds out it is our first visit he explodes with excitement. He begins a long, jovial list of recommendations, each one more tempting than the last. We settle on Mergaz, Moroccan cigars, Afrah tagine and the highly recommended dessert, Meslala to finish.
Starting with the curiously named Moroccan Cigar, which we've been told is a hearty mix of ground beef, onion and secret Moroccan spices. It's a crispy, crunchy,spice-filled mix which may not be the best choice for public consumption. It does make a fun, tasty mess, none the less.
The Mergaz reminds me of a spicy cevapcicci, a skinless sausage made of minced meat, herbs and spices. The meat is juicy and well cooked, with hints of mint, chili and coriander. The salad paired with it keeps the spice from becoming overwhelming, just leaving the flavors of both to enjoy.
The Afrah tagine was a generous serve of tender lamb, prunes, honey, roasted almonds and cinnamon, finished with sesame seeds. I worried the honey and prunes would cause the lamb to be too sweet for me, but the chef was right. The mix of spices with the sweetness takes this tagine from just another stew, to amazing, savory greatness. There is never enough bread to mop up juices of this quality.
With little room to spare, I looked at my decadent dessert of Meslala, a sweet, warming mix of couscous, almonds, honey and cinnamon, topped with icecream and tantalizing Moroccan style sugar floss. The texture is amazing and the flavor is only made better by the addition of rosewater syrup. While the strawberries were a little irrelevant, I didn't mind them.
When presented with the bill, Mohamad returned to make sure we enjoyed everything, which of course made him light up and offer us a complimentary mint tea to see us off. You don't meet chefs like this often enough.
As one of the only two Moroccan restaurants in Adelaide, there is little room for judgment, but this places lives up to and exceeds expectations on price, quality and personality. With the addition of chef Mohamad's cheerful banter, this little restaurant has become one of our new favorites. The price is reasonable, with a tagine that feeds two costing $30, and the total meal not tipping over $70, it's definitely well worth it.