• Play on Sam!
  • Date: 2013-07-12
  • By Subani Saxena

    Casablanca in the NCR is not so much of an anomaly if you are seated in one of the outdoor cabanas of the eponymous restaurant at the Double Tree by Hilton in Gurgaon. As India’s first Moroccan specialty place, Casablanca has much to live up to. And it does, with panache.


    There is some lovely soothing music playing as we enter the restaurant and begin our meal with some soft Moroccan bread served with a tangy dip prepared from fresh tomatoes, herbs and garnished with lemon. We sip on your glass of white accompanying the starters and it is definitely a promising start to the meal. The next starter, however, is the star of the show. Pastille is a traditional Moroccan dish enclosed in a filo roll, stuffed with spicy meat (chicken in this case, though traditional recipes use baby pigeon!). It is chilled overnight and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon to give a perfect sweet and savory flavor which is quite addictive. Crispy briouat, popular Moroccan pastries (stuffed here with spinach and lamb) follow and  give us a taste of what we dub, mentally at least, as “Moroccan spring rolls”!


    Medfouna, on the other hand, is very similar to an Italian calzone prepared with leavened Moroccan bread and served with harissa, the fiery and distinctive paste from this part of the world. The word medfouna means ‘buried’ and here it refers to the delectable stuffing of meat, herbs and spices “hidden” within the bread's crust. Prawns pil pil dressed with olive oil, garlic paprika and red chilli and merguez -- spicy homemade lamb sausage and served with bell peppers – are also spectacular. Indeed it is difficult to find fault with the flavours which are all authentic and incorporate correct, well-sourced ingredients.


    For the main course, I try what is surely the best known of all Moroccan dishes: The tajine. There are several types the restaurant offers, including a rabbit one. But I try the traditional lamb one where lamb shank has been slow-cooked till absolutely tender. There’s a choice of either saffron rice or cous cous, which is definitely a healthier alternative to rice. The texture of the cous cous as cooked here is completely authentic and unlike what you will find at most other Indian restaurants that also embellish it needlessly with butter, parsley and what not.


    Our meal couldn’t be complete without having some Moroccan mint tea—to digest all the food and give a perfect finishing touch.


    HC verdict:

    Food:  9/10
    Ambience: 7.5/10


    Contact Details:

    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Gurgaon - New Delhi NCR
    Sector -56, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon, 122011
    Tel: 91-124-491 1234

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