B'stilla in trendy South Yarra has become one of our favourite dining destinations in Melbourne. It's unique as a popular and vibrant Moroccan restaurant and ticks the boxes of creative, fresh, interesting, attention to detail and spectacular cuisine. With Jason Jones of Mamasita fame at the helm this was sure to be a success. For Jason this is a labour of love as he spends solid time in the kitchen perfecting dishes and expressing complexity and technique.
Eating out a lot as we do, it becomes overwhelming when you regularly eat loads of rich heavy food. I love it of course. But it's refreshing to eat well at B'stilla and leave not feeling "heavy". Moroccan food is full of wholesome ingredients and methinks healthy. We came away loving the rustic experience and shared plates feeling on a Moroccan high.
We dined at B'stilla as guests of the restaurant. For some days Sam and I have raved about our experience and plan to return. Firstly we were greeted by warm friendly staff who looked like they enjoyed being there.
We began with Almond crumble and sweet mint tea to get our tastebuds going. Then we enjoyed sumptuous entrees such as the B'stilla pie above (hence the name of the restaurant). This is trademark Moroccan. A glorious meat pie with ingredients of pidgeon, duck, almonds, cinamon, saffron and egg was compelling. Sweet and salty. So rustic but with an element of sophistication. We loved the "gamey" flavours.
The Rgahaif was a delightful Moroccan pan fried dough with wonderful filling of spinach, eggplant, almonds and yoghurt. The combination was delectable. and perfect with fiery harissa.
Still in the afterglow of the B'stilla and Rgahaif, we were introduced to the slowcooked Lamb shoulder with ginger, cumquats, parsnip and sumac. Succulent flavoursome lamb with lemon on the side. I'm a big fan of sumac spice. The lamb became an exotic dish when cooked in the Moroccan tradition.
The Lamb shoulder was so good I had to take another photo.
Already the dining experience had hit the high notes. And the standard continued with the popular Duck tagine with winter vegetables, dates and blood orange, and a steamy cous cous. OMG! Visually these dishes are artistic and vibrant.
Perfectly cooked duck with an explosion of flavours. I had fallen in love with Moroccan cooking and its full flavours and wonderful textures. As a crowd pleaser the bits of crispy duck smattered about in the dish hit the spot.
The Cous cous with pumpkin, smoked chili, coriander and preserved citrus was a symphony. Citrus flavours running through the cous cous were divine. A great combination with the duck.
Salads can sometimes be a tacked on as token filler for the mains - but at B'stilla the Cauliflower salad is a satisfying dish on its own. I couldn't stop eating this compelling dish. The spices made cauliflower sexy. Cauliflower, pine nut paste, ras el hanout, and herbs. The cauliflower wasn't too soft and the flavours worked so well together.
We enjoyed excellent wine with Crittenden Estate and Alpha Box and Dice offerings, and Sam enjoyed this Ginger and cumquat cocktail.
B'stilla brings a delightful Moroccan touch.
The fit out is warm and modern with Moroccan patterns (check out the tiles around the bar) and textures, great use of timbers, screens and a theme of red. Several dining spaces make it a versatile restaurant. Business is pumping with strong patronage and a loyal following. Check out the pot plants and jars above for a rustic touch.
B'stilla impresses with its desserts including this Persimmon sorbet with mehalabeya and arnlou. It's not everyday that I enjoy Persimmon sorbet and this dish is creative and refreshing.
Chocolate mousse with star anise, creme fraiche and sesame is also a highlight and great combination of flavours and textures. The coffee jellies are a nice touch.
Also impressive is that the menu changes seasonally. Vegeterians will find a wide range of quality choices. Highly recommended.