Are you and your tastebuds looking to try something new?
I’ve yet to fully venture into the wondrous world of Moroccan cuisine, despite its similarities with Middle Eastern cuisine, and even then, I know way too little (it’s not just hummus, kebabs, and falafel, ya’ll).
Perhaps you’ll start singing praises of the severely underrated cuisine (in Singapore, at least) once you dine at Tajine, a Moroccan tapas and cocktail bar along Mohamed Sultan Road.
Nestled in Robertson Quay, the restaurant is both dynamic and enchanting, with soft golden lighting, intricate arabesque walls, and a playlist of North African, disco, funk, and psychedelic rock, so you know you’re in for an experience unlike any other!
The menu draws on influences from Africa and the Mediterranean but with a contemporary twist. Think hearty sharing platters, slow-cooked stews, and plenty of herbs and spices.
You’ll get an inkling of what’s to come with the one and only starter— Zitoun (S$9), or marinated olives, preserved lemon, chilli and garlic — salty, tangy, and complex.
It’s obvious that group dining is ideal here, given that you are encouraged to try several if not all of the signature Moroccan vegetable “salads” and dips, which are sold in mixed platters of three (S$36) or six (S$58).
The Bessara (S$16), fava bean hummus with extra virgin olive oil, is a safe option, but I’d rather go for the Gar’A M’asla ($16), a sweet roasted butternut pumpkin puree fragranced with orange blossom water and cinnamon.
Those who enjoy babaganoush (eggplant dip) can go for its Moroccan counterpart Zaalouk (S$16), flavourful grilled eggplant with paprika and parsley.
If actual salads are your thing, go for the Taktouka (S$16), a bright and beautiful combination of roasted peppers, cumin, and coriander.
Also, the Khizou Mchermel (S$16), a cooked carrot salad with chermoula (a relish similar to chimichurri) and preserved lemons, is a Moroccan staple you mustn’t miss out on.
Mop up those delectable dips with wood-fired Pita (S$8) or Batbout (S$8), mini pita “balls” that were almost too adorable to tear into.
Other bites to order for sharing include the Briouates (S$19), crispy filo triangles filled with wild-caught Atlantic sardines (kinda like a samosa), served alongside muhammara, a piquant roasted red pepper dip.
Meat lovers will delight in the Kefta (S$19), juicy hand-shaped black Angus minced beef grilled over a wood fire, served with harissa, a North African hot chilli paste. They’re typically served in kebab form, but I knew I’d enjoy it, either way.
Moving to the mains, you’ve got to order at least one pastilla, a traditional savoury filo pastry pie stuffed with slow-cooked meats, spiced, dried fruits, and nuts. And no, it’s not a dessert, despite its powdered sugar-covered exterior.
We opted for the Poulet (S$68), which easily serves two or more, comprising a filling of chicken chunks with turmeric, roasted almonds, orange blossom, and dried fruits, the kind you’d associate with mince pies and Christmas pudding.
Despite feeling confused upon the first bite, the sweet and savoury flavours really started to grow on me. Don’t knock it till you try it!
As the restaurant’s name suggests, the North African stews, or tajine, served in the iconic cone-shaped clay pots are a staple of Moroccan cuisine.
Go for the Milk Fed Veal Shank (S$98) if you wish to indulge in creamy bone marrow (slathered on pita bread, perhaps?), or even the uber comforting Wild Atlantic Monkfish (S$88), comprising flaky, surprisingly meaty-tasting monkfish with roasted peppers, coriander, and parsley.
Don’t forget to order more pita or batbout for dipping!
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, there’s no better dish to order than Méchoui (from S$12 per 100g), a traditional Moroccan slow-braised lamb shoulder typically served at celebrations and festivities (like weddings).
This massive hunk of tender, flavour-packed bone-in lamb is served atop Ras El Hanout basmati rice pilaf, dried fruits, and cashews (think biryani, but a lot more dramatic) — a centrepiece that’s bound to get your guests talking!
Do note that a pre-order must be placed at least one day in advance.
For an extra sweet finale to your meal, the crescent-shaped Cornes De Gazelles (S$16) are reminiscent of crumbly shortbread, while the Riz Au Lait (S$16) is a creamy, subtly floral-tasting almond milk and orange blossom rice pudding.
Being a sucker for anything sour, the Sorbet (S$16), spiked with almond syrup and orange blossom water, and topped with candied lemon, was my personal favourite.
All desserts are meant to be savoured alongside traditional Moroccan Tea (S$12), that’s made with plenty of fresh mint and “more sugar than your mom would ever let you have”.
But of course, a Moroccan-inspired cocktail (S$24) or two won’t hurt.
My picks? Pinky Promise, a citrus-forward concoction of rosemary and black pepper infused gin, elderflower, pomelo, and pink grapefruit, as well as the Marrakesh, a refreshing blend of gin, mezcal, passionfruit, and orgeat.
Other unique creations inspired by Morocco’s rich tea-drinking culture are the mojito-inspired Mo-Tea-To and the Mesmeric Potion, a twist on the classic G&T.
Even better — you can enjoy endless cocktails, wines, rosé, beer, soft drinks, coffee, and mint tea for 90 minutes if you drop by for the Free-flow Weekend Brunch (S$68++).
All things considered, you’re in for an enthralling dining experience filled with good conversation, hearty sharing platters, and tasty tipples! So, ready to finally hit up Tajine for Moroccan cuisine?
Reservations can be made here.
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