Here’s one to try real soon at home real soon – espresso stewed figs bedded between crisply caramelized rounds of walnut phyllo pastry topped with a smooth mound of cardamom ice cream.  Or if something altogether more citrus-y and effervescent is to your liking, whip up an orange blossom yogurt mousse and serve it with pistachio cookies hot from the oven.

Or you could stop by Bistro Pastis on Vancouver’s 4th Avenue for a pair of Moroccan menus this month.

Some restaurants remind us what ‘eating out’ is all about.  It shines at the door, holds testament at the table and equates with a deeper experience of value, and something else, akin to a journey.

As described by Vancouver Magazine judges, Bistro Pastis’ owner “John Blakeley is one of the most intuitive restaurateurs in the city…he is Left Bank but right brain – this is smart, cozy cooking at decent prices.”  Together with Chef Tobias Grignon in the kitchen, Bistro Pastis has left Paris, albeit not altogether, to spice things up for Spring.

If it sounds poetic, add a glass of the recommended rose and consider it an homage to Casablanca well grounded in a recent visit.  For the month of April the 4th Avenue gem is Moroccan things up a bit with a pair of prix fixe menus that might just make Bogart take flight.

In keeping with the ambiance of the room, warmly wooded and richly hued, the mood of the most recent menu (running April 5-17, 2011) would be altogether Casablanca with the addition of a piano and by-law sanctioned ventilation.  As it is, Bistro Pastis remains one of the most welcoming rooms in Vancouver, one that does not bill itself as a romantic destination, yet oozes it in every aspect of presentation.

The Moroccan menu for the month simply spices up the love affair of locals and gives anyone with a tongue for spice, unctuous goodness and charming service, reason enough, at $42/person, to play it again on the second serving later in the month.

April 5 – 17, 2011

Moroccan Carrot Soup
Coriander Yogurt

or

Roasted Beef Kofta
Cinnamon Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mint, Free Range Egg

or

Cumin and Rosemary Grilled Jumbo Prawns
Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

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Honey Braised Lamb Tagine
Saffron Roasted Cauliflower, Raisin Pine Nut Couscous

or

Chermoula Roasted Ling Cod
Chick Pea Purée, Warm Roasted Pepper and Dried Olive Salad

or

Le Couscous Royal
Grilled Lamb, Chicken, Merguez, Vegetables, Couscous and Harissa

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Coffee Stewed Dates
Walnut Phyllo Pastry, Cardamom Ice Cream

or

Orange Blossom Yogurt Mousse
Pistachio Cookie

 

April 19 – May 1, 2011

Harira
Classic Spiced Tomato and Lentil Soup

or

Crab and Bastilla
Creamy Saffron Yogurt Sauce

or

Chermoula Honey Grilled Quail
Orange, Mint and Butterbean Salad

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Ras El Hanout Grilled Chicken Breast
Baby Potatoes, Apricot and Green Olive Râgout, Preserved  Lemon Yogurt

or

Seafood Tagine
Ginger, Saffron and Tomato, Crispy Aubergine

or

Le Couscous Royal
Grilled Lamb, Chicken, Merguez, Vegetables, Couscous and Harissa

************

Orange Honey Beignet
Ginger Ice Cream

or

Serpent Cake
Almonds and Rosewater Phyllo Pastry, Whipped Mascarpone and Berries

 

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