Monday, June 13, 2011
Moroccan food @ Min Fes Hammam and Cafe, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya
I'm eternally grateful to my friend S....it's because of her that we discovered this little Moroccan gem of a place hidden in suburbia. NST's Sunday Times had clued her in on this cafe's existence but she had scouted it for us and gave her lip smacking approval before we stepped into this cosy cafe.
The cafe and the Moroccan Hammam bath next to it is owned by a couple (one half is Moroccan while the other is local). The space is given a Moroccan feel with intricate lamps, terracotta engravings and there is even a fountain in the front. As S had thoughtfully booked ahead, we had the private room to ourselves, where we lounged on long couches. Since it was quite a few of us in that space, we knocked elbows a little as we dined. Nevertheless one does enjoy the whole ambience inside the room especially with the beautiful shadows casted from the carved lamps. Completing the whole ambience was the bold patterned plates our food came in.
I've always loved Moroccan food and one of my culinary heroes is Claudia Roden who is famous for her Middle Eastern cookbooks. Their food is fragrant with a lovely subtleness that has a magical appeal which draws me back. At Min Fes, we felt the food exudes a one of a kind home-like feel (from what I read they use the owner's mother's recipes) making it a class above any other restaurant in town.
As usual, we order a feast that the table is literally groaning from the weight of the food. Chief favourites voted by many tummies (7 to be exact) were the lamb aukdah (RM15) and the chicken couscous (RM20). The lamb aukdah is perfect for lazy eaters. No wrangling with bones as the lamb is all shredded up and mixed with diced tomatoes and onions. What makes it perfect are the subtle spices that go into it, as you eat each bite, you can feel each layer on your tongue - a hint of cinnamon, a hint of sweetness and so forth.
Only available for Friday is Morocco's national dish, the couscous. They serve two varieties: lamb (RM25) and chicken. The chicken version is far superior in taste compared to the lamb. The couscous is said to be steamed five times over the chicken broth, which produces these aromatic fluffy grains. It is topped with chunky fork tender portions of carrots, celery and pumpkin.
We had two types of lamb tagine (RM20 each), one with vegetables and the other with prunes. The meat is soft and the juices of the dish is superb as everything cooks down to a light tasty broth. Appetizers came a little late during the meal but the hummus (RM7), chickpea puree and tahini sauce with lemon juice is smooth and moreish with the soft pita breads. We also enjoy the warm falafel (RM7), ground chickpea patties. The Moroccan salad (RM7) is a refreshing combination of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with a special house dressing that hinted of olive oil with a dash of lemon juice. Being a great fan of eggplant, I loved the zaalouk (RM7), grilled eggplant mashed with tomatoes, cilantro and garlic that was so moreish. We also had the chicken kabsa (RM15), boiled chicken with spices served with a fluffy briyani rice and a spicy tangy sauce on the side.
To end, it was creme caramel (RM3) and a refreshing fruit salad (RM7) that is served with a lovely thick yoghurt. We also enjoy thick Moroccan coffee and the traditional Moroccan mint tea. The tea is very sweet but I love the mint aroma that didn't stop me from sipping down one glass. I reckon more visits to this place is warranted since we have yet to try their mixed grill items, the fish chermoula that is by special order. They also so mandy lamb but only for special catering. Hop over here for a slice of Moroccan magic.
Min Fes Hammam and Cafe
19-1, Jalan PJU 7/7A
Tel: 03-7722 5049
(Halal. Open from 11am to midnight daily. Turn into Mutiara Damansara from the main road opposite the Curve. Go straight, the row of shophouses is on the left hand side before the roundabout. Min Fes is at the corner. More pictures in my Flickr set.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.