Review: Fabulously vibrant Moroccan flavors at hidden gem Tangier

Lamb shank Tagine ala chef Nabil Jaghdour. Photo: Tangier

Featuring elements of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African cuisine, Moroccan food has a lot of appeal. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many restaurant serving authentic  Moroccan cuisine in Jakarta since the late great Maroush in the Crown Plaza Hotel closed its doors some years ago. But I recently learned about a new Moroccan restaurant serving impressively delicious dishes in a most unexpected place — the balcony of the Thamrin Residence apartment complex.

Read also: Best Middle Eastern restaurants in Jakarta: Where to find kebabs, falafel, hummus, shawarma, and more

Easy to ignore due to its location next to the Grand Indonesia and Thamrin City shopping complexes, Thamrin Residence probably isn’t the first place you’d go looking for a meal in the area, but Tangier is worth seeking out for its unique setting, great service and, most importantly, excellent Moroccan cuisine.

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Tangier’s head chef, Nabil Jaghdour, is of Moroccan descent, grew up in France and is classically trained in French cooking. He retooled Tangier from a previous French/Moroccan concept that used to occupy the same space and the focus on the food of his homeland seems to be a better fit for the balcony venue, which includes a large and comfortable outdoor hookah lounge section elevated just enough above the Thamrin traffic snarl to make it an enjoyable outdoor dining experience.

While the food is focused on Moroccan, I felt like chef Nabil’s French culinary training could be felt in all the dishes my friends and I tried, which were well-rendered with spot-on seasoning and cooking technique. That technique was especially evident in how deeply flavorful the dishes were, despite coming out of the kitchen at an impressively quick pace.

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You’ll definitely want to order family style here so you can try as many dishes as possible. A great start is the Shiada Maghribia (Moroccan Salad Selection, Rp 55k), featuring an impressive array of zingy items like marinated eggplants, cumin cucumbers and fava bean hummus.

Squishy Moroccan bread comes with all the appetizers but you’ll probably want to order extra so you can use it to sop up all the juices from the heartily spiced main dishes like the Tagine Djaj Mkali (Rp 110k), tender braised chicken cooked with garlic, onion, olives and, most importantly, some tart lemon to brighten up and tie together all the dish’s flavors.

A Moroccan feast at Tangier. Photo: Coconuts Media
A Moroccan feast at Tangier. Photo: Coconuts Media

The Tangia Bel Relmi (Rp 135k), a slow-braised lamb dish cooked with fermented butter and preserved lemon, was another standout. Nary a drop of its morish gravy was left on the plate before it was taken away by the waiter.

If you’re looking for a lighter bite, there are also lots of healthier dishes packed with aromatic flavor like the Tabouli Bel Kimroun (Rp 75k), a beautifully refreshing tabbouleh salad made with quinoa and studded with tender prawn, mint, melon and orange.

If you’re craving something more kebab-y, Tangier also has gyros, kefta and merguez wraps, served with fries. They’ve also got a nice selection of desserts including traditional Moroccan halwa pastries served with mint tea.

Tangier is the sort of place that you’d only likely find through word of mouth (or your friendly neighborhood Coconuts) but for a taste of real Moroccan flavors it’s definitely worth seeking out.

Tangier
Thamrin Residence
Lvl.P2 (Mezzanine) RTE/G/E15
Jl. Teluk Betung I, Kebon Melati,
Tanah Abang, Jakarta Pusat
021 29496213
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