Moroccan Cuisine in the Mile-End – Cuisine d’Izza

Cuisine d'Izza

August 19, 2015

in Food, Outremont, Reviews

I’m always down to try new things and more often than not, do so with an open mind, that’s why I was a excited when I was told about this new Moroccan restaurant that opened up in the Mile-End. I’ve only had Moroccan food a handful of times and each time I experienced something new and delicious that helped open and expand my culinary mind. The dishes feature an abundance of deep, rich spices and herbs with influences of mediterranean, middle-eastern and African cuisines. As colourful as the food is, it’s also the hospitality that stands out during a Moroccan meal. Gracious hosts, smiling faces and being made to feel at home is common (if not during any other dining experience), so I made my to Cuisine d’Izza on Bernard for a taste of Moroccan cuisine.

It was quiet for a weekday lunch as we were the only people there, except two tables on the terrasse. We looked over the clipboard menu and ordered.
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The “chef specials” from the menu included three kemias (salads, mini-starter) of the chef’s choice. We were served roasted eggplants, a beet salad and carrot salad. Sweet, salty, tart, light… there aren’t enough adjectives to explain how refreshing the salads were. Subtle hint of smokiness in the beets and a light pinch of spicy heat on your tongue from the carrots, it really whet our appetites for what would ultimately disappoint us.

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Three very modest patties of kefta served with fries. No bigger than Snapple caps, the bland beef patties were drier than a summer Saharan day under the Moroccan sun. Maybe I’m just accustomed to beef being seasoned heavy handedly, or perhaps my tastebuds were shot from the delicious kemias – which I doubt. Fries were starchy and oily. Duh, I know fries are cooked in oil, but these were unpleasant and I was surprised the ceramic plate didn’t turn transparent where the fries sat.


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The loubia – white bean stew made with merguez. The beans were tender and the spicy sausage was flavourful with hits of turmeric, cumin, sweet paprika and cayenne pepper. The aroma dish was deep and intense. It was good enough that I almost wanted to sop up the stew with the bread that was served with the salads had the bread not be so unappealingly stale.

The server couldn’t be bothered to look up from his laptop to notice that our glasses were empty and had been so for a while, so I helped myself. We finished our meal and were sitting there for quite some time before we were noticed through the bustle of the empty dining room to be able to ask for our bill and lunch hour back. I don’t think I’m asking for much, outstanding customer service is commendable when you’re treated like the only table in the restaurant. But when you’re literally the ONLY table in the restaurant, there’s no excuse.

The dinner menu seems more substantial with the inclusion of tajines, grillades and a variety of interesting Moroccan desserts that would warrant a return visit to try alone: Sfunj – “beignets à la Morocaine“, sweet couscous and moufleta (Moroccan crêpe with honey and butter). Unfortunately my interest in this place is as dry as that cake of bedouin sawdust they tried to pass off as bread.

La Cuisine d’Izza
228 Bernard
514.490.4222
http://www.lacuisinedizza.com

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