Having walked past The Moroccan in Lichfield several times and always being tempted by the menu, a few days ago we decided to try it for ourselves. Set in the heart of Lichfield, The Moroccan serves an array of traditional starters, mains and deserts, as well as a selection of traditional drinks, with a separate Express Lunch Menu and Evening Menu.
We arrived in time for the Express Lunch Menu, so ordered a pot of Moroccan tea and settled down to peruse the menu. The seating downstairs was quite cosy, with a row of tables along one wall with sofa seating, and a few other tables set alongside traditional decor. There was a lovely friendly atmosphere throughout the whole lunch, with Moroccan music playing as background noise. There also seemed to be a fairly steady flow of both new and returning customers, which is always a good sign when visiting a new restaurant.
We were impressed by the prices on the lunch menu, with the cheapest item (Lemon and Mint Taboule) being £4.25 and the most expensive (Essaouira) only £8.50. After much deliberation, I ordered the Couscous Merguez whilst he chose the Essaouira.
While we waited for our food, Farid, the owner, brought over our pot of tea which he poured for us in the traditional Moroccan style – poured into the glass from high above, leading to a foamy top to aerate the tea.
The Moroccan tea, a first for us both, was a green tea, heavily flavoured with mint and sugar. It was beautifully sweet, with some of the most soothing, refreshing and full-flavored mint flourishes; it was absolutely divine. The performance of pouring the tea meant that the lovely foam abundant on the surface made the tea very light, unlike any other tea you will have ever had.
After a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of the tea and the teapot, our meals arrived. His choice of the Essaouira was a seven vegetable tagine with a braised neck of lamb. The flavours reminded him of his grandad’s Polish paprika stews, so immediately brought back great memories. The lamb was beautiful and tender and the vegetables were all at the perfectly consistency for him. Overall, he thought it was a beautiful and wholesome dish.
My hearty couscous and merguez dish was just as excellent as the Essaouira. Fairly simply presented, the dish came with a very generous portion of couscous, topped with seasonal vegetables and two merguez – spicy red sausages originating from North Africa. As with the essaouira, the vegetables were perfectly cooked, soft without being overdone, and the sausages were incredibly meaty, which is a good indication of high quality sausages. They had a nice kick to them without being overpowering and made a great addition to the dish. This came alongside a pot of a vegetable broth which I poured all over the couscous. On its own, the couscous risked being bland, but the simple vegetable broth made a massive difference. The dish was divinely moreish and filling. Amongst our friends, I am known for always finishing every scrap of food and never being completely full. This was one of the first times in a very long time (and the only time that he has ever heard me) that I said “I am actually full. I want to keep eating but I’m so full!” (Despite my fullness, he was more than happy to steal the remainder of my dish even after finishing his own.) The excellent portion size and well-balanced flavours meant that I was very content with my choice of dish,
Alas this time we didn’t have room for dessert, as tempting as they were, but next time we’ll be sure to check it out, along with their evening menu! The Moroccan is certainly the place to go for wholesome, homely and delicious traditional Moroccan dishes.
P.S. They also offer fairly regular cookery classes which sound like great fun!