Monday, 15 June 2015

Kasbah - Brussels

As mentioned in previous posts on Sundays Brussels appears to shut down outside of the tourist areas. Finding a restaurant that was open on a Sunday was proving a difficult task, everywhere we researched, with the help of local blogs, was closed on a Sunday and in many cases on a Monday too.

D managed to find an article on the Internet which suggested Kasbah was one of the top places to go in Brussels. I tried a quick search to see if any of the locals had blogged about but found nothing. As options were running low and it had pretty lamps, Moroccan food seemed like the way to go.

We arrived on a rainy night, it had been raining all day too, so I was looking something to put a good end to the day. As we walked through the door we were presented with some thick heavy curtains which we pulled back to reveal the restaurant. The article wasn't wrong, they did have pretty lamps. The whole room was decorated with Moroccan lamps, more than I had expected, creating a great ambiance and romantic feel. Things were looking up for damp Sunday evening.

All the lamps 

As we were guided to a table we noted that olives were already pre-laid out for us. I love a free olive but hoped they hadn't been sat there too long. Whether the serving suggestion or the fact they had been sat a while they were a little dry and not very oily, I also looked across enviously at other tables who appeared to have more than us.

Lurking olives 

I perused the wine list and debated with D whether we should get a bottle of Moroccan red, having spent some time in Morocco and knowing that it is a Muslim country and almost dry outside of the tourist areas I was suspicious about the quality of the wine... my fears may have been unfounded but I wasn't feeling brave enough to test my theory so instead ordered a trusty half bottle of rouge instead. I'm such a wimp.

Half a bottle of wine served slim 

The menu was only available in French in the restaurant so I had to do a lot of translating for D and with some of the words that were unfamiliar to me we had to use Google translate or grab the waiter to help, 'couscous' should definitely be added to school French syllabuses. There is an English version of the menu on their website but the translations are rather interesting, 'Brick Egg' hardly sounds edible and I didn't see any stores in the restaurant where the 'lamb shops' could be, I'm not too sure what 'Angel's hair' is either?

With some guidance from the waiter we ordered the mixed cold starter. This consisted of five small dishes of mixed peppers, spiced carrots, hummus, spinach and baba ganoush accompanied by warm pittas. A spicy dried pepper paste was already present on the table when we arrived and the waiter advised this went well with the spinach, it was pretty hot but pretty flavoursome all the same.

Mezze of cold starters 

Each of the dishes were great, who knew chopped carrots could be so good? We dipped and shared and I noticed that the enamel dishes were bumper harvest, the vintage sister of falcon. We mixed and dipped away debating which was the best and then changing our minds with each dip. I think the spinach finally ended up on top.

With a little more guidance and some slight persuasion from the waiter we ordered our mains. We both knew that we wanted tajines and D was persuaded to get the lamb with almond and prunes, apparently the real taste of Morocco, a sweet and salty dish.

Lamb Tajine with almonds and prunes 

Unfortunately my picture of it isn't great, I blame the poor lighting. The lamb fell off the bone with barely a prod or a poke. I had a bite and it really was a great dish.

Unfortunately I couldn't say the same for my dish...

Kofta Tajine 

I ordered the kofta tajine which appeared on the menu to come with olives. It did not. It came with an egg, which it apparently had just been broken in to the dish and left to do what it pleased in there. I've checked the website menu and it definitely says olives not egg, not sure how those two can get mixed up. The kofta wasn't great, it tasted more like pre-made supermarket meatballs rather than kofta. It was also incredibly hot in the restaurant and this dish didn't cool down at all, it was hot from the tajine the whole time I sat eating it, it took quite some time to eat and made me hotter and hotter with every mouthful.

A bowl of couscous was given to us to share, as soon as the couscous touched my meal it lost all consistency. It wasn't the couscous and tajines I remembered from my Moroccan escapades.


To finish off the night, and to try and cool down we ordered some sorbet to share.

Creole of sorbet (aka mix of sorbets) 

It did the trick, it was refreshing cooling and sweet. We both lapped it up.

The waiting staff were great, one in particular who took our orders was pleasant, welcoming and extremely helpful. The only issue that we had was trying to get the bill, I noticed the table behind us did too.

When we first arrived around 7.30pm there wasn't many people in there, by the time we left nearing 9 or 10pm the restaurant was reaching capacity.

The bill was reasonable at 73 Euros around £53.

It's also made me realise that food bloggers often focus too much on the new and forget the old, if I was visiting Leeds yes I would want to know about the new hip places to go but I would also want to know about the old favourites too. Something I will be keeping in mind in future.

Definitely one to visit if you're planning a visit to Brussels, just stick to the lamb tajines and stay away from the kofta.

For an introduction to Brussels see my post here

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