When we think of Morocco, we think of 1001 Arabian nights, 1001 colorful lamps, and the taste of 1001 different spices… oh, and the smell of mint tea and carpets. The restaurant, Petit Maroc, has the mystery emanating lamps hanging from the ceiling, and the mint tea, but other than that, kitsch is no where to be seen.
Simple tables, simple chairs – only a few green pillows giving the place a touch of colour.
The colour of the country can rather be found in the food, and the flavours.
We wanted to marry our eggplant salad.
Our starters vary from fried spinach and chicken pastries to salads and eggplants with sesames sprinkled throughout. The pastries come in a meaty and vegetarian variation. Both come with the spicing only recognisable as hailing from the fascinating Northern African country, Morocco.
The egglplant salad had us falling in love with a dish. However, this was a short lived love affair once our liaison with the veggie tagine and the chicken couscous tangine began. Both of these are typical for the region and two of the signature dishes of Petit Maroc.
Couscous and Tagine: they do the real deal of these typical Moroccan dishes at Petit Maroc
The name of the dish, tagine, refers to the claypot that the stew kind of meat, veggie and couscous dish is cooked in.
For hours on end, may we add.
Petit Maroc offers a bunch of tangine variations. The veggies are always stewed au jus, which does not only make it really healthy, but also low in calories. Not that we’re counting – when food is this good, why would you!
Mentioning damn good dishes…you know when you’re served up super dry chicken that makes you cough up strings of it and feel like the chicken had died in vain?
Well, this certainly won’t happen here. It was some of the most succulent and well spiced chicken we’ve ever had. And the little date plopped in the middle of the plate gave the savoury a partnering sweet flavour that infused throughout, which is typical for a tangine done well.
Handmade North African desserts – save some space for the sweeeeet stuff!
There’s only one good end to any Morrocan meal – pastries and mint tea.
There’s a couple of typical Morrocan dessert choices, so we figured, to honour that, we’d try two of them.
One was the Creme d’amour, which is an orange-cinnamon mousse with sesame and marzipan pastry. The other is the Andalousschnitte – think rose water syrup, dates and ice cream. The taste is made for Arabian princes and princesses. Ok, now we’re getting kitschy.
Be sure to top it all off by ordering a fresh mint tea. The tea pot comes in a cute little dress so you don’t burn yourself, and to make it all feel a lil’ more special.
It’s petit, for intimacy and quality
Petit Maroc is petit. It only has space for 30 people.
‘Quality is only possible in a small group for this kind of food,’ one of the owners tells us. This ensures everything is done properly, and authentically in the kitchen, they tell us.
Moroccans typically only eat at home the owner tells us – ‘of course nobody can do it better than their own mama,’ he say before adding – ‘but they do come here,’ with a proud smile.
He’s right. The place is frequented by the Moroccan expats of the city. So don’t just blindly trust us (who the hell would ever do that?!) Take this as proof that their doing sweet (and savoury) justice to the tangine and pastries of Morocco at Petit Maroc.