TEXT: Iwan Martinus Putuhena; PHOTOS: Gugun A Suminarto
Moroccan cuisine is incredibly diverse with influences from other cultures over the centuries, including Arab, Europe and Africa. There is a common confusion with people who think that Moroccan cuisine considered as Middle Eastern because Morocco is about 4000 kilometres away from Persia. Morocco is the door to Africa, thus spices feature extensively in Moroccan cuisine and there is a centuries-old art to their careful balancing. Common spices include cinnamon, ginger, paprika, coriander and saffron.
In Jakarta, Tangier is the one and only restaurant that offers authentic Moroccan cuisine. Centrally located in Thamrin Residence complex with beautiful skyline views, Tangier has a truly unique indoor and outdoor area with beautiful surroundings of classic and stylish Moroccan décor that warms the senses.
The menu at Tangier is prepared by chef Nabil Jaghdour, a Moroccan born who grew up in the food and wine region of Bordeaux, south of France. He attended French culinary school since the tender age of 15 and achieved multiple academic degrees as a chef. Growing up, his dream was to travel the world and he realised it through cooking. Working in the Caribbean, London, Atlanta, and Miami he experienced a variety of cultures and culinary that defined his cooking style.
Tangier is one of chef Nabil's projects in Jakarta that inspired by his memories of delicious home cooked meals and fuelled by his passion to share the flavour of Morocco. Jakartans can experience a journey of discovery through sumptuous Moroccan dishes, with its blend of oriental herbs and spices.
“Tangier menu is a highlight of all the flagship Moroccan dishes. It's like the tour of Morocco,” Nabil describes. ”I want to teach people about the cuisine. Sharing knowledge is exciting to me,” he adds.
When The Peak visited Tangier, for starter we had Harira, a savoury traditional soup made with diced beef, poached egg, tomato chickpeas, lentil, celery, and coriander served with home-made Moroccan bread. Followed with the main course Tagine Bel Hout, a classic Moroccan salmon stew flavoured with traditional spices, potato, carrot, and lemon made in a clay pot. This rich and hearty fish tagine is a combination of beautiful flavours and colours.
Moving on to a more a familiar dish, Tangier also served Lamb Gyro Wrap consisting of marinated lamb kebab, spices, herbs, lettuce, tomato, and onion with a side dish of Moroccan shaker fries. The roasted and slightly charred Australian lamb is fresh, resulted in a perfect balance of soft, juicy, and tasty kebab.
A dessert with a bit of everything is the perfect way to end a meal, and luckily we had some room for Halwa Bi Atay, assorted Moroccan pastry served with home-made mint tea and peeled oranges. The pastries, which consisting of apple fritter and couscous cake, taste very balanced and not too sweet.
In Morocco, tea is an important part of socialising and making the popular tea with mint is considered something of an art form, with the pouring of tea being considered as important as the tea itself. Upon entering Tangier, we were offered the refreshing Moroccan Mint Tea within seconds, as well as the signature cocktail, Pearl of Tangier, consisting of Gin, Triple Sec, Cointreau, orange juice and sprite at the end of our lunch.