Rich in a very large community of Moroccan origin , the Capital of Europe does not however abound in good restaurants reflecting in a convincing manner the true riches of the Cherifian gastronomy. This cuisine is however worthy of the greatest interest and we would like to be able to sit down more often in front of a series of specialties which are well worth the detour. It is on the strength of this observation that Mamoun Lebbar, a young graduate in economics from the ULB but originally from Fez , said to himself that there was surely a public likely to appreciate an offer going in this direction.
With parents who had already collaborated with houses like "L'Etoile de Fez" and "Les " Splendeurs du Maroc ", our man was not quite a novice in the Horeca. On the strength of his university education, he had however started his career in consultancy, to come to the conclusion that he would flourish much better in a catering project combined with a caterer offering the cuisine of his roots.
And so it was that on December 29, Mamoun opened the doors of its “Nomade” in Uccle, a concept as attractive to the eye as it is likely to delight gourmets.
Pretty to the eye, indeed, because the setting imagined by the master of the place is as elegant as it is warm, in orange and brown tones enhanced with touches of materials for the most part from the other side of the Mediterranean, without you might as well fall into the atmosphere of a low-level souk too often encountered in this type of establishment.
Likely to delight gourmets because, for the cooking part, we find in the kitchen "Simon", a chef who had, among other things, made the good times of the restaurant "Warrakech" in Waterloo until recently. The know-how of this one is found as soon as one pushes the door of the "Nomade", because the first thing which one sees when one enters, it is the impressive counter fridge where are presented a series of specialties intended to be taken away. In full harmony with Mamoun Lebbar, the chef's ambition is to introduce a mosaic of traditional preparations, not without giving them a touch of modernity.
In all registers, everyone finds here everything that can be appreciated in Moroccan cuisine to create, at home, a gourmet feast worthy of the best riads... Being able to benefit from the take-away services of such a house is a godsend because, If Lebanese, Italian or Asian caterers abound in Brussels, genuine Moroccan caterers are extremely rare.
But, to fully appreciate the cuisine of the “Nomade”, the most appropriate option is to sit down in the beautiful dining room, which is as welcoming as it is well spaced out. And, as my partner and I had the opportunity to do this Thursday, to browse the beautiful menu of the house, not stingy with very tempting suggestions.
Thus, after excellent aperitif olives marinated in the house, to start, we decided to let ourselves be tempted by the “assortment of cold starters” for two covers (€26.50). This consisted of six small cups as fresh as they were tasty, including some classics such as delicious spinach seasoned with olives, a beautiful "mechouia" type salad, a succulent aubergine purée, or even red beets seasoned just you need… All accompanied by a very good Moroccan bread with semolina.
In the dishes, we may have lacked a bit of originality, but as we were both seized with an irresistible craving for couscous, we ordered, me a couscous "kefta skewer" (€20) and the wife of my life, a “lamb” couscous (€25). And that's how we each saw an amusing “tajine” plate arrive, covered with its typical conical lid, containing, as tradition dictates, semolina already moistened and garnished with its vegetables.
The meats were offered on a separate but common plate, with, for my little comrade, three fine lamb chops, nicely pink as she had requested, and for me, three generous kefta meatballs, as soft as full of taste. To this was added a bowl of broth to wet the couscous even more and, of course, the essential harissa essential to energize this meal at will. It should be noted that this beautifully crafted couscous was as tasty as it was light and fragrant to perfection.
To wash it all down, we had played the local card, asking for a red from Boulaouane - Domaine de Khmis, irreproachable in its genre and offered at the very reasonable price of €23…
So, ending with an excellent mint tea served with dexterity and according to the rules of the art, here is a house whose door we will still push back to discover some other specialties that have caught our eye, such as a series of crispy preparations or the beautiful tajines. And no doubt let us go a little in the magnificent catering counter to try, at home, some of the little marvels that it abounds.