What’s the most exotic cuisine you’ve ever had? In Calgary, Kev and I have tried Indian, Nepalese, East African dishes. Even though we haven’t gotten the chance to visit these countries yet, through food, we were able to learn a little bit about each country’s culture and diversity.
Last weekend, while hunting for food in our neighborhood, we unexpectedly found a Moroccan restaurant at the lower level of “The Building Bloc” on 11 Ave SW (between 6th & 7th St).
The second we walked through the door, we were both hypnotized by the splendid, breathtaking setting. The restaurant was beautifully themed with exquisite Moroccan furniture, crafts and paintings.
We were wandering in awe and admiring the decor as we made our way through the restaurant to a semi-private booth. The booth was cozy and quiet, allowing us to relax and enjoy an intimate dinner together.
Since it was our first time having Moroccan food, the server suggested us to order from the Tour of Morocco menu, which offered 3 or 5 course meal at a cost of $36, $48, or $60 per person. Kev and I were both trying to lose weight for our wedding so we decided to each order a dish instead.
Before the food arrived, the server brought a silver basin and kettle to our table, poured rose-scented water over our hands, and gave us towels to dry our hands.
We casually sipping on Moroccan mint tea ($4) and fragrant Moroccan coffee ($3) as we waited for our meals to arrive. The mint tea was served from a tiny silver teapot. The freshly brewed, sweetened green tea was poured into a small glass and served with fresh mint leaves. The coffee had a heavy roasted aroma and bitter aftertaste, intertwined with light rose and cinnamon fragrance.
For the entree, Kev ordered rous chermoula saffron rice ($18) with meat sampler add-on ($10). (Note: At Casbah, the entrees are typically vegetarian unless you choose to add any meat onto the dish.) The light, airy saffron rice was served with grilled chicken, lamb, merguez (spicy mutton-based sausage) and prawns, all of which were cooked and seasoned well. The chermoula sauce of tomatoes, garlic, herbs and chickpeas were unquestionably tasty and light. Its savory taste complimented the meat perfectly and brought out the unique flavour of the different meat. Kev loved the lamb which was surprisingly soft and had no unpleasant odor.
My tmar tajine ($19) with chicken thigh ($7) was a sweet stew. The moist chicken thighs were infused with fragrant spices and were so soft that it could be broken apart with a soft touch. The sauce was made with tender root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots), chick peas, and pecan stuffed medjool dates, using minimal amount of water. This sweet, hearty dish completely changed my opinion about what stew should taste like!
To conclude our meal, we ordered the pistachio rose ($8). It was basically a pistachio baklava with vanilla ice cream and strawberry compote to go alongside. You could never go wrong with this honey-sweet, crisp dessert 😉
We had a wonderful night out at Casbah. It is a great destination for exotic cuisine and romantic dinner. In terms of price, it is a little expensive, but you are paying for the immersive Moroccan dining experience, not just for the fabulous food.
Link-up // Fiesta Friday // Special thanks to Angie from the Novice Gardener and to our co-hosts for organizing the event. Happy Friday!