Thursday, November 26, 2020

Moroccan lunch at Andalousse

Travelling down Main and Regent Road at the moment is quite an adventure and not always a pleasant one as there are so many businesses that have closed. So we were very happy to see a new restaurant. Lynne went on line to see what their menu looked like and also had a chat with the owner, who is Moroccan. They have another restaurant in Woodstock, where they began, and they felt that this might be a good market for them. It is, with one small exception. Being Muslim and strictly Halal, they do not allow or serve any alcohol. We decided to give it a try for lunch on Saturday with another adventurous couple who are vegetarians
The interior is very different and, not having been to Morocco; perhaps typical
Bench seats with cushions, with cut out decorations giving a slight Moorish feel
They have lots of Tagines and other items from Morocco for sale and the prices look good
We have a tagine and so do our friends, but we were also excited to see a small selection of rough clay dishes
which both of us love to cook or serve food in. Lolly bought two small dishes at R150 for the two
The tagines are beautifully decorative in the Moorish manner
There are different sizes and there are also vases, cruets and other small items 
The menu. We are familiar with Moroccan food and do cook it at home. Lynne makes her own Ras al Hanout spice mix and preserved lemons. They do have several of vegetarian dishes and indeed we decided to try them first. We had no idea how large the servings would be, so we started at the beginning, thinking we would get to the main meals later! Our extremely helpful waiter, Hashim, who is from Libya, did try to indicate the sizes and this is where it got confusing. We contemplated having the Mezze until he told us that the Mezze selection also comes with the Falafel and, as we are all fans, we decided we would each start with the half serving of Falafel
The bread stuffed with cheese and garlic is huge; comes sliced into fingers,
with a slice of lemon and some very hot Harira. We ordered two which was a mistake; one is plenty for four
The cheese did not have much flavour, rather like mozzarella, and the garlic was sadly absent
It also needed salt. The Harira is, as expected, fiery
We two meat eaters decided to order the Pastilla starter, which we shared. It is something we have read about often but not experienced, so it was a chance to have a new food experience. Poultry pastilla is traditionally made of squab (fledgling pigeons), but shredded chicken is more often used today, as it is here. It combines sweet, nutty and savoury flavours. It is covered in crisp layers of werqa pastry. The chicken is cooked in stock and spices, then minced and mixed with roasted chopped almonds. It is topped with cinnamon, and a large amount of icing sugar. We liked it, but it is more like a sweet nut truffle than a savoury dish; we couldn’t taste the chicken
Drinks were initially difficult as they don't have many savoury things and we don't do colas or sodas
Lolly ordered the salty fermented yogurt drink,
Lynne and Ronnie shared a pot of Gunpowder tea with mint which comes sugared and with some very good pastries
John stayed with water
The cute cruet
Our friendly Libyan waiter Hashim, pouring the mint tea. Perhaps, next time, we could ask them to leave out the sugar
The tea is very refreshing and goes well with the food. Lynne and Ronnie had three glasses each
We had a good chat with the owner; we told him that they may be very popular with the visitors in the summer months
The biscuits were heavenly, a great assortment
Lolly asked if she could come and have lessons on how to make them! That delicious
When our half-portion plates of mezze and falafel arrived, we knew that we were not going to order more food this time. This is the half plate for one. Three nutty and crisp fried falafel which have really good textures and flavours. Clockwise from 6 o'clock: An onion, cucumber and tomato salad, falafal, a very enjoyable green herby tabbouleh, plain yogurt, Babaganoush, a very enjoyable smoked aubergine dip called Zoulouc and, sadly, a rather dull humus
The crowded table!
The bread that comes with the falafel resembles soft white handkerchiefs rather than pita bread,
although that is on the menu
We have decided that our next meal will be a lamb tagine, but we will do a take away
so that we can enjoy it at home with a good bottle of wine!
Stands for the Tagines when they are served at the table
Da Bill for four. We think it is very reasonable; it works out at R185 a person with tip

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