This was my first time having Moroccan – and I’m glad to say it was a fantastic introduction to this cuisine by B’Stilla in South Yarra. One of my friends chose this restaurant to celebrate her hen’s night (yes that’s right, she organised it herself putting us all to shame). We had just finished a relaxing afternoon at Mornington Hot Springs and this was actually a fantastic way to end the evening (although it was quite a car trip!). B’Stilla seems to cater for ordering for large groups, offering a decision free banquet menu starting at $45 per person. The other option included a dessert but in many ways I’m glad we opted for the $45 option and ordered two desserts among the 10 of us because we were quite full by the end (it’s just, you know a different compartment for dessert luckily)!
To start we were served a lentil soup – they’re quite considerate of those who cannot tolerate spicy food as you can actually choose how much chilli mixture to add in. I loved how the soup was piping hot as opposed to what happens in too many restaurants. They also offered us a complimentary mint tea each to start but I think I forgot to take a photo – it was quite refreshing.
Their grilled flatbread was served with a lemon and tomato jam.
Next we were served their signature dish – B’stilla, pronounced as “bas-stee-ya”. Their version contains chicken, duck, almonds, cinnamon, saffron and egg. I must say I normally associate the mixture of spices (probably cinnamon most) with sweet pastries/breads so this was a bit new for my taste buds! Nonetheless it was quite enjoyable – the crisp and flakey pastry had something to do with this I’m sure. I have to say it was also very filling!
After this, it seemed like our table became covered with food – the only problem with having a banquet meal is that although the waitress was very well trained and eloquently explained all the dishes to us upon setting them down, now I really can’t remember all the dishes so I apologise if some are mislabelled.
For the mains wise, we had a chicken dish with a tomato based sauce (unfortunately missing a photo of this specifically), the smokey eggplant, a coleslaw salad and a cauliflower dish (possibly cauliflower, pine nut paste, ras el hanout) amongst others. The chicken did stand out as the pieces were succulent and went well with couscous.
The smokey eggplant on the other hand was indeed quite smokey but I think most of the table found it a bit overpowering.
The coleslaw salad with almond and orange flavours provided a lovely contrast to the stew based dishes and we had no trouble finishing it all up. Likewise, the cauliflower dish was a great hit.
Even though there was no way we could have finished all the food served before us, we were too tempted by their desserts. Not being too greedy, we chose two to finish off. One was Tahini ice cream, honeycomb, orange blossom ($10) coupled nicely with persian fairy floss and sesame seeds. I would normally be a little wary in ordering tahini as not all is to my liking but this one was a new experience for me – subtlely flavoured and a perfect accompaniment to crunchy little bits of honeycomb. The other dessert was a rosewater caramel flan surrounded by toffee shards ($11). Both desserts were fantastic. The flavour combinations were fantastic and the flan had that nice wobble to it contrasting with the crunchy toffee.
So we had a lovely time at B’Stilla. Their banquet is certainly enjoyable with the chefs designing a balanced meal showcasing the breadth of their culinary skills. I’d say to remember not to skip dessert because you would be missing out. This is a fantastic venue to have dinner with family and friends – the restaurant itself is roomy and their wait staff are friendly and knowledgeable. I might not be able to pronounce most of their dishes or even their name properly but with food like this, I can understand why their ratings and reviews are all fantastic. Who knows – Moroccan might just be the next big craze in Melbourne.