November 13th, 2007

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Sahara at the Republic

Another of the more interesting cuisines I have enjoyed recently was Moroccan, at Sahara at the Republic which is hidden away slightly in the back of the Republic courtyard (accessible by both Bourke and Palmer Streets).


On the night we attended they lost their chef. Not an auspicious beginning - but despite my offer for us to return at a later date, they insisted that the owner’s chef-trained husband would be well able to fill the breach. Actually, it felt more intimate – like dining on home-style Moroccan food in someone's lounge room!  Interestingly, the owner and his wife are from Uzbekistan.  As you can see, it's a low light and slightly exotic space, looking out onto a quiet courtyard, with a few outdoor tables - sadly for us it was pouring rain.



Our first dish was a Mazza Platter ($14.90) of vegetarian dips including eggplant, tomato, pumpkin, chickpea, spinach and capsicum. The pumpkin was my personal favourite (predictably enough, it's the orange one in the photo), but all of them were good.



Whilst the menu is mostly traditional Moroccan, there is also quite a bit of non-traditional seafood on the menu (a gesture towards the tastes of the patrons). I liked the Prawns Ftouma ($17.90) served in a garlic-enriched tomato concasse.



The standout dish of the evening was the Meatball Tajine ($22.90) a steaming clay pot of lean meat balls with perfectly cooked chickpeas in spicy tomato sauce made creamy by the addition of a poached egg that cooked right before our eyes – a sure crowd pleaser.



We also tried a Lamb Tajine ($22.90) which was interesting, but not particularly to my taste because of the intensity of the lamb not being disguised with spices.



Don’t forget to end the night with some Moroccan Mint Tea ($4.50) to cleanse your palate, poured in a traditional fashion. For local residents, most dishes are available takeaway for a 30% discount.

Sahara at the Republic
40 Kings Lane (off Palmer Street), East Sydney
Ph: (02) 9380 9809

Sahara at the Republic on Urbanspoon
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