Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kasbah, a taste of Morocco at the Fort

If there’s a restaurant I’ve been waiting to try, it’s Kasbah. I have always wanted to try a Moroccan restaurant ever since I watched Sabrina with Harrison Ford. Because in one part of the movie, the two lead characters ate in a Moroccan restaurant, squatted on a low table and scooped food with their hands. But more than the film, perennially watching Morocco on TLC with its food and culture aggravated my search for this type restaurant in the city.

So it was a great surprise when Kasbah was re-tweeted on Twitter. Whoa! A Moroccan restaurant in The Fort Strip with acoustic music playing..You gotta be kidding me?..I’d definitely want to try that! So after a couple of weeks ogling it on the web, I finally went there, bringing along my balikbayan cousin from San Diego, my sister, my brother and husband. It was a memorable night since it’s our first time to go out to dinner together and our first try at this type of restaurant.

And it was everything I expected to be, the décor, the ambiance. The place was not that big but its eclectic vibe more than made up for it. The muted lighting was quite nice for a cozy dinner and the food was splendid too.

We ordered the Hummus Harissa and my cousin who had been used eating a variety of Hummus in the States exclaimed that it was good. Okay, I’m no expert on Hummus but yes, it was better than the others I’ve tried so far. The chickpea smooth paste was tasty, with a slight nutty flavor and a good complement to the warm pita bread that came with it.

Then we had the Moroccan cigars. It looked like spring rolls dotted with sesame seeds. Inside was a type of curried vegetable, eggplant, I think. It was a different take on our lumpiang gulay or veggie spring roll but still, it was full of flavor.

For drinks, I had the Frozen Black Moroccan mojito. It was a mojito shake with what tasted like crushed mint. It took awhile before I got used to it because the mojito I’m familiar with had a more liquid form and had lots of cubed ice. Oh, well, I’m not in Cuba but in Morocco.

Going back, if there’s any food Morocco is associated with, it’s their Chicken Tagine. But first, let me tell you about how ecstatic I was when I saw the tagine, the earthenware used in Morocco, the one with a triangular shaped lid on the table. I almost burst into glee. It was the real thing, Yey!

The chicken was so tender, it almost fell of the bones. It was also refreshingly light and delectable maybe due to the preserved lemons it was cooked with. I'm guessing that it may have been slow cooked for hours because the olives have already lost its sour taste and took on the sumptuous flavor of the chicken. Even the potatoes were tender and lightly flavored. I definitely want to go back here one of these days and try this dish again.. with extra basmati rice or couscous J

Adding pizzazz to the place is a live performance of a couple of musicians. That night, the theme was rock and roll and it was a welcome treat while we exchanged stories and drank vodka.

Honestly, it had been a while since I enjoyed an eclectic night like this, suffused by ornate lamps, entertained by live music, showcased with good food and surrounded by family. Everyone should do it some time, dine on exotic food with family in a striking ambiance. Add dash of color and culture in your night to dull the edges off work or domestic stuff. For me at least, it helped, being there was like being warped to another place. So thanks Kasbah, really, you made my wait for a Moroccan restaurant in the city worth it J I hope to see you again.

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