Kasbah Café and Bazaar
Bold Street, L1
By Hannah Fowler
Opening the large, ornate door in to Kasbah Café and Bazaar felt like I was stepping through the wardrobe in to Narnia. You’re instantly transported from a busy Bold Street to an enchanting Moroccan land; with lively music and authentic décor including candles, tagines, mirrors, lights and tea sets – you don’t know where to look first.
As soon as my sister and I entered we were met by the owner, who welcomed us with open arms and gave us an enthusiastic overview of the recently refurbished restaurant. As we settled in to our window booth table, two Fez hats lay in front of us waiting to be worn; without any hesitation my sister got into the Moroccan spirit and placed hers on, only reluctantly taking it off as we were leaving.
Kasbah is an alcohol-free environment, so while we looked over the food menu we chose a fruit drink. When they informed us that the drink we had chosen wasn’t available, it turned out perfectly, as our waiter then recommended the Moroccan lemonade – a homemade drink with fresh mint and lime; it was a refreshing choice which we both loved.
The Kasbah menu offers varied dishes; from cold and hot tapas to start, lighter Moroccan salads, to favourites from the grill and traditional tagines. I was excited to try some authentic Moroccan food, which is known for its subtle mix of spices and aromatic flavours.
To start, we enjoyed one of the cold tapas options, Moroccan olives (£2.95) tossed in a charmoula sauce; a Moroccan staple which is used to flavour different meats and vegetables. The olives were the perfect appetiser before our starters arrived.
My sister opted for the Moroccan meat balls (£4.95), which were cooked in a rich tomato sauce and served with a basket of bread; perfect for dipping and to scoop up the remaining sauce. I picked the tangier prawns (£4.95), marinated in more of the charmoula sauce, they were so delicious and were seasoned with a perfect balance of spice.
Next, it was on to our main meals and my guest chose a Moroccan twist on an American classic, the Kasbah burger (£7.95). It was packed full of flavour, including the special sauce covering the bun – which is still a Kasbah secret. I decided on the aptly named, Tagine de Fez (£10.95); a lamb tagine with caramelised prunes, roasted almonds and apricots. Served in a traditional tagine pot, the lamb was so tender and tasty. All the tagines are served with a side of saffron rice, Moroccan bread or couscous – a difficult decision to pick just one, but I eventually went for the aromatic saffron rice.
If our Souk style surroundings and choice of headwear weren’t authentic enough, we ended the meal with true Moroccan flair – by enjoying a pot of traditional mint tea.
Everything at Kasbah is a brilliant performance; from the food presentation, excellent customer service, even the pouring of the tea is made in to a spectacle, and there’s no doubt it’s a performance I want to experience again and again.