Sunday, 7 June 2015

Kasbah (rue Antoine Dansaert)

This time, back to Brussels, and indeed to rue Dansaert, right in its traffic-heavy, slightly scruffy centre. It's a bit clichéd to say that the Kasbah restaurant, with its curtained-off entrance and dark and lantern-lit interior (not good for blog photography, alas), is a blessed retreat from the noise and disorder of the city.

Indeed, as restaurants go, this is definitely the full Moroccan - tagines, couscous, mint tea, cushions, flamboyant waiters (who remembered my parents from a previous visit) - but, fortunately, it's the food which really makes the experience. Main courses all edge towards the 20E mark, but for that you get an impressively large, and tasty, plateful. The contents of my chicken and vegetable tagine (17.90E) had been slow cooked to a melting texture, and oddly enough I don't think I've ever enjoyed eating peas so much, as these had taken on the flavour of the whole dish in a most delectable way. 
The chicken, plump and juicy, was technically the centrepiece of the tagine, but one of the best things about this kind of cooking is that it does encourage you to appreciate other components too and the ways in which they combine. The only false note was perhaps from the accompanying bread: better than it could have been, but clearly bought in and not a match for this distinctively north African dish.
On the other side of the table, couscous - respectively with chicken (16.90E) and braised lamb (17.90E) - was the subject of similar approval. This is a more deconstructed dish, as the meat and couscous are cooked separately and arrive with what can only be described as a vat of vegetables and a dish of sultanas, but it results in similar flavour and texture combinations. 
All this was followed by mint tea (in my opinion too sweet drunk the Moroccan way with sugar, but without it a little disappointing - well, there are worse problems to have) and 'Thousand and One Nights' ice cream made with figs, almonds and orange blossom (7.80E) - another effective, and not too sweet, set of flavours with an unusual thick and slightly grainy texture, almost like kulfi or the brown bread ice cream you get occasionally in the UK. Presumably the chefs here don't have to think too hard - I mean this in the nicest possible way! - when they make a tagine or some couscous, but it was good to have a thoughtfully-prepared dessert too. A suitable end to a rather excellent meal.

rue Antoine Dansaert 20
1000 Brussels


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