Last night we had a Food Bloggers Gathering at Rick's Cafe, Casablanca at One Bangsar organised by the wonderful Just Heavenly duo, Nigel and Allan (Thanks guys!). Just a small group which was great fun as it meant a shorter wait time for the food. Believe me if you're a non food blogger dining with a group of food bloggers, it can be a pain to watch your food arrive on the table but get kidnapped for a few minutes for "picture taking". Although there was no Bogey or Bacall at this Casablanca inspired restaurant cum bar, we did find great food from the chef Tim Yee who was formerly from Med@Marche.
The place has a touch of Moroccan since that is where Casablanca is based on. Even the menu serves La Kemia which is Moroccan Tapas. To start our meal off, we had a selection of tapas items which was served with lots of white fluffy bread. First, we had the ultra simple Confit of Garlic and Thyme. It's ultra simple since all you need to do is just slice a garlic bulb and roast it in the oven drizzled with oil and thyme for flavour. The garlic mellows with the roasting making it sweet and soft which goes well with bread.
Fried Calamari and Tomato Cumin Dip (RM13)
An all time favourite snack - fried calamari which was lightly battered and deep fried. You need to dip it in their special tomato cumin sauce or else it can be quite tasteless on its own.
Chicken Liver Pate with Orange Preserve (RM10)
I quite liked this combination of rich chicken liver pate served with slices of orange preserve. The orange is slightly tangy and not sour which goes really well with the rich and calorific chicken liver pate.
Brandade of White Cod (RM13)
Everyone thought it was Creme Brulee when this arrived at the table. It's actually mashed potatoes mixed with salted white cod and topped with a cheese coating that was grilled. This can be salty on its own so take it with lots of white bread. The texture is smooth that you can't even see bits of the cod within.
Ocean Trout Belly Grilled with Sea Salt on Tomato Pickle (RM12)
I liked this combination of grilled fish with tomato pickle laid on top of bread. However the tomato part didn't really taste like the normal sour pickles but more like a thick tomato sauce.
Maghreb Lamb Patties with tomato relish (RM15)
These lamb patties were lightly spiced up but I felt there was a slight gamey smell to the meat. Just a slight hint that didn't go away even when paired with the tomato sauce.
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup (RM14)
We all had a small bowl of soup to try. Tastewise it was excellent as it was rich and woody with the wild mushrooms plus a hint of cream. The soup is not very substantial though as this version is more like a thin broth.
Twice Baked Mushroom and Gruyere Souffle (RM26)
Luckily the soup was thin versus thick as I didn't have much tummy space left for my main course. I had a mishap when it came to my main course, the original Red Seabream I ordered was a bit too fishy for my liking. Luckily they were nice enough to change my meal to the Twice Baked Souffle. It was excellent stuff - light with lots of chopped mushrooms within served with a rich gruyere cheese sauce and sauteed mushrooms. On the side was more garlic confit and spinach. Although it may be rich, the texture of the souffle was light hence you don't have trouble finishing it especially if you love cheese and mushrooms.
Venison Shoulder Braised with Plums (RM36)
Since we were split into tables of 4 people, I only snapped my other dinner companion's meals. Kusahi Keat from Life Q? Anime Food had the highly recommended venison.
The interior of the Venison Shoulder
Wrapped in filo pastry, the venison was very rich and tender. It is served with potato puree and sauteed vegetables on the side.
Spring Chicken Tagine (RM28)
Jackson from Living in Food Heaven had the Moroccan theme, Spring Chicken Tagine. Served with pears and couscous drizzled with harissa sauce, the taste of the items was not to his liking at all. The harissa sauce was spicy while other items were sweetish. Since the couscous was soaked in the sweet sauce, it was a bit soggy.
Maghreb Lamb Burger with extra Blue Cheese
Splashie Boy had the lamb burger with a topping of blue cheese which was very good. Unlike the lamb patties, no gamey smell and it was tender. They served it with twice fried fries which was a bit hard versus crunchy.
Roasted Banana Souffle with chocolate gelato (RM14)
For desserts, we had their roast banana souffle. Not everyone's favourite but I liked the airy texture of this. The banana taste is not very evident hence it tastes quite plain on its own. Needs to be taken with the chocolate gelato for flavour.
Blue Cheese Ice Cream
Kinda weird I know the combination - salty blue cheese with ice cream but it works! Strictly for blue cheese fans though as some will find it weird tasting since the smell is a bit strong.
Coffee Creme Brulee (RM14)
Another dessert we had was the creme brulee which I didn't even though had any coffee until I saw the name in the menu. I liked the burnt sugar crust as it was evenly spread and not over burnt. Most places sprinkle a heavy layer of sugar which they end up overburning till it is too crisp.
Red Velvet Cake
Last but not least, a sneak preview of Just Heavenly's latest cake to hit their shop - the Red Velvet Cake(click for wikipedia reference). The texture is so light down to the frosting which has cream cheese hints. Very nice and definitely something you should grab when you see it at the shop.
Overall, I thought the food here has some great moments like their Twice Baked Souffle which was excellent. The wild mushroom soup and the venison is also good. Heard rave reviews about the beefsteak from the other table and the lamb burger was very tender. Didn't hear good feedback about their beef burger though which was slightly hard and the taste of the spring chicken tagine was not up to our liking. Having not tasted Moroccan food, I'm not sure if it was just the combination of sweet and spicy we didn't like or their version. Aside from the restaurant food, the bar area is also a popular hang out for the Arsenal football supporters.
Rick's Cafe Casablanca
63C, Jalan Ara
Tel No: 03- 2287 1618
(Pork Free. Located along the Jalan Ara. Note that Fukuya the Japanese restaurant will be opening next to them soon.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.