December 5th, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Souk in the City

Souk in the City is a rather a sumptuous French Moroccan restaurant tucked away in the St Margaret’s Complex in Surry Hills. It's a fragrant restaurant, decorated with Moroccan furnishings and the owner, Omar Majdi is an experienced restaurateur and a charming host. He has had previous stakes in Manly’s Out of Africa and Tajine at the Republic and his experience shows in his latest slick little entry which is a sophisticated space with an intimate feel.

The wine list is largely inexpensive but perhaps less exciting than the cocktail list with a Moroccan twist. Be warned though, the Moroccan Spice Sticky ($15) pictured above with mint and lime, turned out to be almost overpoweringly sweet.

We started with some house-made Souk Olive Harissa Cheese Melt Bread ($8.50) which is a must to capture every last drop of the gravy of the wonderful Merguez home-made Spicy Sausages ($15.90) with pickled lemon, peppers and a chickpea stew. It's funny, this dish wouldn't have been my choice, but I was so glad my dining companion suggested it, as it was by far the best dish I tried particularly for the really lovely, plump chickpeas.

The food represents a wider view of Morocco than most other Moroccan restaurants I have tried to date, taking in the French colonisation, and delivering some welcome lighter fare like the Rassel el Hanout dusted Scallops ($17.90)

Less successful was a bonus entree of Char-Grilled Lamb Brochettes ($17.90) which were a bit chewy. However I will say, I ate the exact same thing at their first birthday party a couple of weeks before, and they were great, so perhaps this overly chewy representation was just a one-off error. I really liked the grilled figs spacing out the lamb pieces.

Moroccan food does of course include tajines. I would also recommend the Lamb Shank Tajine ($28.90), especially if you’re partial to a sweet note in savoury cuisine, as it is cooked with honey, cinnamon bark, prunes and roasted almonds.

The other main we tried was the Roast Duck ($32.90) with orange blossom jus, zucchini ribbon and date jam, which was not really to my taste. I am of course quite obsessed with duck as a protein, so it is rare for me to not be that enamoured with a duck dish.

For dessert we left ourselves in the hands of the chef. Unfortunately we got a platter of desserts that seem to bear little relation to the dessert menu. I liked the strawberry mousse, but that was the only bit that really stood out to me. We had it with a Traditional Mint Tea du maroc ($4.90) which I enjoyed a lot.

This is worth keeping in mind if you're ever craving something a bit different and interesting for a night out.

Souk in the City
Shop 5, 'Henry', 431 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9357 7577

Souk in the City on Urbanspoon