Ever since a few of my friends and I had dinner at Souk in the City (what seems like) eons ago, M’s developed a soft spot for Moroccan cuisine.
It’s not surprising then that she decided to have a big group dinner at a Moroccan (slash Egyptian) restaurant for her birthday. The restaurant itself wasn’t all that large and our fairly big group of 14 hungry people filled up most of the place.
As there were so many people in our party, we had to get the Tagine Banquet at $45 per head. Considering that you get 5 dishes and a dessert, I thought it was pretty good value.
It took a while between courses for the dishes to come out, but when they did everyone dug into them with gusto.
I think tzaziki and hummus are always battling to be the top favourites in a mixed dip platter, but this time things were a little different. I noticed that a lot of us adored the olive dip with its slightly salty and creamy flavour. Indeed it seemed an almost perfect bite with some Lebanese bread, but I totally fell in love with the smoked eggplant with a touch of paprika for a bit of flavour kick.
These vegetables were actually served with our mains (which I suppose in a way, made more sense) but it’s here as it’s under the Entrée section on Tagine’s website.
Chargrilled vegetables are a perfect way to balance out heavy, meaty dishes and it most certainly did its job here with its chargrilled perfection. They were almost all gone as soon as the dish hit the table.
Although our mains came out quite a long time after our mixed dip platter, they all came out together and piping hot too.
I heart couscous. There’s something so enjoyable with eating hot, fluffy couscous and having it lightly spiced with cinnamon was absolutely heaven. The rice was really good and fluffy as well, but being Asian I find it hard to appreciate something I have every day (even though I love rice to bits, having it outside from home is always a bit different I think). I thought the sultanas sprinkled throughout both bowls were a nice touch.
F found the sauce a bit salty, which says a lot as he loves salt, but interestingly, I didn’t find them to be. In fact, I thought the vegetables were well-seasoned and really liked how it was swimming in sauce.
Not all meatballs are created equal – some are too hard, while some are too soft and crumbly, too big or too small (insert immature snigger here).
Interestingly, all that is a matter of perception as these meatballs were a bit hit or miss at our table. Some thought they were too big, had too much spice… or thought they were perfect sized and had a really robust flavour that tickled their fancy. F and I were firmly in the latter camp, though I tried to stay away from the sauce as it had a bit too much heat for me.
Being cooked in a tagine, you would expect the meat to be super tender and retains its succulent juiciness. And you would be right for this dish… the lamb practically fell apart to the merest touch. I thought it was a touch salty, but nothing that more couscous wouldn’t fix! Hehe.
The potatoes in this dish was absolutely delicious too (no bias here haha) and were so soft! Mmm potatoes…
So Tagine’s website tells me that this dessert is an “Egyptian delicacy of home-made layers of pastry covered in butter served with honey, double cream and molasses”. To be honest, I don’t really care what it was. All I know is that it was freaking awesome and it boggled the mind that there was one dessert dish to share between 4 people!! Utter tragedy.
Then again, this is me being greedy and by this stage we were all quite beyond content – pushing towards being too full. It was also quite a large serving for one person, I must admit, but it was so delicious we all kept wanting more despite being nearly uncomfortably full (and past beyond the point where unbuttoning one’s top pants button to ease one’s discomfort).
To end our banquet, we were served hot fresh mint tea and “washed” our hands with this perfumed oil, which is a traditional thing to do in Moroccan/Egyptian culture after dinner (if I remember correctly from what I was told).
I love tea and it was just really nice to sit back after such a large meal and relax with a nice, hot cuppa, chatting with friends. Our waiter/owner of the restaurant poured our tea from a really high height (I forget what that’s called, I’m sure it’s called something right?) and we watched in amazement that nary a drop went astray. Unfortunately, he decided to reduce the pouring height when he noticed I was taking pictures of the pour and so this photo is not as suitably impressive as it would have been. Hehe
Tagine is a pretty cozy setting with a great, chatty atmosphere. While the food might take a while come out for large groups, the dishes are well worth the wait and you’d go away feeling quite satisfied.
679 Darling St
Rozelle, NSW, 2039
Ph: (02) 9810 6108
5 friends from Sydney who don't mind having a good feed now and then. Throw in some food photography and the odd recipe and travel post and you have eatshowandtell.
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