Trying out a new cuisine is always exciting. For us, Moroccan cuisine wasn’t exactly new for me considering Dubai has specialty restaurants from almost all corners of the world but suffice to say that my knowledge of food from this particular North African country didn’t extend beyond the Tagine, the famous Maghrebi dish named after the earthenware pot in which it’s cooked. Perhaps that’s why Four Points by Sheraton’s Iftar at its quaint Moroccan restaurant was such a revelation. First and foremost, the restaurant itself was a surprise. Done up in earthy, dark tones with three private dining areas that are the last word in cosy comfort with Moroccan inspired décor, the stillness and old-world charm stood in stark contrast to the buzz of Sheikh Zayed Road visible from the window. It felt like viewing two different worlds at the same time.
On to the menu. It was not 100 per cent Moroccan but had its best elements with a bit of French influence thrown in. Everything was new – from the way the food was served to the menu itself – and that alone is the reason you must try this, especially if you, like us, find Iftar menu rather… ahem… predictable in most restaurants.
For starters, there was a different offering to break the fast – milk! Mixed with ground almonds, it was an instant energy booster (and I am NOT a milk fan!). The date platter had one very special delicacy – the salou – a sweetmeat of powdered almonds and sugar that tasted like our desi besan laddoo. That’s the closest comparison one can give to this addictive treat. The spiced tomato soup with chick peas and vermicelli had the perfect balance of flavours while I can’t praise the condiments served with the bread enough. Especially the robust harissa and spiced olives and dip that complemented our breads so well.
The salad and date platter
The excellent main course
The dessert - fruit salad and yoghurt
The Nicoise salad was presented well but had regular stuff like carrot, potato, steamed rice and tuna (the best of the lot), lettuce etc. The real deal was the mains. I chose the Lamb Cous Cous (the other two options include the Tagine Fish – oven baked fish with rice and Chicken Mohammar – slow cooked marinated baby chicken). It was excellent. The succulent, soft braised lamb, after soaking in all the spices, melted in my mouth even as I relished the flavours of the raisins, dry fruits and fried onions that had been generously added to the dish. Served over a bed of cous cous, this is a dish that satisfies all your senses with its sweet, sour, spicy flavours. The dessert that followed, a fruit salad with yogurt was good (thankfully not sweet) though the perfect end was provided by the Moroccan tea that helped settle in all the different tastes. I am definitely going back!