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Bazaar.ru. Exotic in the big city: why Moroccan cuisine is a new gastronomic trend

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Uilliam Lamberti told about tagine, mezze and restaurant Nofar in his column.

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One of the main gastronomic openings of this spring is Moroccan restaurant Nofar. Two famous restaurateurs opened it: Uilliam Lamberti and Arkady Novikov. Uilliam Lamberti, our new columnist is speaking about peculiarities of Moroccan cuisine.

I always thought that travelling is the best source of new ideas! Once I travelled to Israel and there I met very talented Moroccan chefs. I was interested in bright Moroccan cuisine and this acquaintance induced me to make a very bold step, to open Moroccan restaurant in Moscow.

Eastern cuisine is very popular in Moscow, but I wanted to show it in unexpected way. I introduced this idea to my old friend Arkady Novikov and we together opened Nofar at the territory of Badaevskiy brewery.

In Western countries Moroccan cuisine became a gastronomic trend many years ago and for good reason. Gastronomy of Morocco is a successful combination of eastern cuisine with Mediterranean. It is rich in herbs, bright smells and spices. There are many meat and also fish dishes. The very foundation of this cuisine is tagine. That is how the dish with meat and vegetables popular in Maghreb countries and also special crockery are called.  Tagines are made from chicken, rabbit, stewed lamb and are served with couscous.

Moroccan cuisine is also a joy for vegetarians. In fact another one Moroccan specialty is mezze, cold vegetable starters. You may order them and taste with friends and family. At Nofar you can find a section with mezze. Among them are: matbuha from tomatoes, babaganoush, red oranges salad with olives and «Tsarmela» sauce, «Zaaluk» roe from roasted eggplants.

Besides, Moroccans like to bake dishes in oven. For example, chicken with honey and paprika, lamb shoulder blade with cumin and thyme. My personal favorites are hummus with rabbit liver, beef tartar and of course tagines. The core of the gastronomic philosophy at Nofar is careful attitude to the origins of Moroccan cuisine taking into account Moscow tastes.

Interior of Nofar reminds traditional Moroccan riad. There is an open kitchen there. You may rest from the city noise in the restaurant and look how flatbreads and meat are cooked. It looks like southern oasis in the northern metropolitan, recalling sunny Marrakesh and narrow streets of old Fes. I will repeat: travels, including gastronomic one are the best sources of new ideas.