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Tuesday, 10 December 2013


This year, for a slightly 'alternative' Christmas meal, me and some friends from my university course decided to go to a local restaurant in Leeds. Oranaise is a North African restaurant, specialising in Moroccan style tagines, cous cous dishes and mezze platters. The decor is gorgeous and emulates a very North African feel though it's decorative use of patterned lanterns, gold fringed cushions and warm candles. Me and a friend ordered a pot of traditional Moroccan mint tea, flavoured with honey, cinnamon and blossom water; this for some is quite a sweet tea, so order without the honey if you don't have such a sweet tooth. The menu has so much to choose from and many of us were tempted by tapas starters, hummus, falafel and tzatziki platters. In the end, we all ordered a variety of tagines; the overall response of which was mixed. My tagine was a 'Dolma'; flavoured with aubergine, mince, chickpeas and green peppers. It had layers of cumin and lemon, served with a few slices of homemade bread and the portion size was just enough. Overall, the spicy and tangy flavours were well mixed, however the meat was slightly too salty and I wasn't entirely sure it complemented the dish. Another friends meal had what I can only decribe as 'would you like any tagine with those olives?' which safe to say, when cooked, were overly briny and 'mushy'. The chicken tagines in general were lacking flavour and spice, which is a shame considering how well the lamb and vegetable tagines were received. If I were to visit in the future, I would stick to the traditional, house special tagines as these seem to be the more authentically flavoured and well-practiced dishes. Also, this style of food definitely doesn't appeal to everyone, but I would recommend trying it out at least, you might find you have a soft spot for chermoula!

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