As a precursor to the upcoming Ramadan season, Grand Millennium floats a Moroccan Food Festival to offer diners in Oman an opportunity to savour diverse Middle Eastern cuisine
There’s the unmistakable sound of spices sizzling in olive oil and a whiff of caramelised onions and tomatoes to greet you as you enter the Bahriyat Restaurant at Grand Millennium for dinner these days. And if the live stations do have the power to stop you in your tracks, what’s laid before you in traditional earthenware on the buffet counter goes a step further in putting you into a culinary trance.
You have suddenly entered a different part of the Arab world. It’s as if you’ve switched countries, from Oman to Morocco in an instant. And, one glance at what’s on offer at the buffet counter, combined with smiling chefs and stewards dressed in traditional Moroccan attire, does assure you of a feast for the senses.
You settle at your table, but conversation cannot hold you down for long, as the aromas of freshly seasoned poultry and meats deliver their magical spell on all those present. The chefs give you brief insights into the fare for the evening and put together sumptuous portions of chicken and beef with a quick seasoning which you’d love to tuck into on the way back to your table.
There’s the popular Tagine made of meat and vegetables, fish tagine, couscous, Rfissa served over a layer of unleavened bread, Mechoui (roasted lamb), Harira (meat and vegetable stew), zalouk (salad made from seasoned eggplant and tomatoes). And the chefs are willing to season and toss up your portion on the spot and serve it piping hot.
The spices are used in moderation and the presence of oil in every dish is limited. You also don’t see the whole spices and condiments on your plate but every morsel, on its journey from the plate to your mouth, explodes with a unique impact that unravels the essence of Morocco and its great food traditions.
Look around, no one is watching to notice the trickle of gravy down your chin, on the stray tears that announce your degree of delight. At least for this evening, you have to be oblivious of your fitness commitment and mentally generate fox promises of hitting the treadmill the next morning with greater dedication.
Abdel Jaoued Chtourou, Cluster F & B Manager, informed that two chefs have been specially flown in for the Moroccan Food Festival to create authentic Moroccan dishes that will not only create a lasting impact among diners but also popularise Moroccan food in Oman in a big way. The food festival, which began on February 27, will continue till March 18, he said.
“There are no Moroccan food restaurants in Oman where people have an opportunity to relish Moroccan food. Hence, we have organised this festival to offer diners in Oman a chance to try out and enjoy Moroccan cuisine which is very popular, not just in the Arab world but also other parts of Europe,” Abdel Jaoued said, adding that this festival generates a fitting ambience that leads to the ensuing season of Ramadan.
He further disclosed that Grand Millennium is committed towards providing its guests with varied experiences and the Moroccan Food Festival is one of these. At Bahriyat Restaurant, diners can enjoy an a la carte menu for dinner as well as a set three-course menu for lunch, while a special private dinner for ladies has been organised by the Rooftop Pool on March 14. Moroccan Cooking classes and a Moroccan Street Food Night are also on the cards.
Chef Fatiha Ezzouhairi said, “People of all nationalities enjoy Moroccan food. At this festival, we prepare the dishes in the most authentic way, just as it is prepared in Morocco – in restaurants as well as in homes. The dishes are not very spicy but we do use a lot of spices like chillies, pepper, and many other dried whole spices. Moroccan cuisine has many dishes, each with its own distinct flavour. At this festival, we offer some of the best dishes, but you have to visit Morocco to enjoy all of it.”