Friday, August 21, 2009

Moroccan Enchantment at Maroush

A few weeks ago, I went out for a girls' night out with my pals to Maroush, the stylish new middle eastern restaurant & lounge, which also positioned itself as the first champagne lounge in Jakarta (with Veuve Clicquot champagnes).

We just came to chill at the lounge, grab some small bites, and chat over drinks. I had been reading and hearing a lot about this new place and was very eager to check it out myself. And of course what intrigued me other than the sleek design, are the champagnes.

We arrived at the place around 11 p.m. Too bad we missed the belly dancing show (it's on every weekend). As soon as we entered the place, I was mesmerized. The hall that connects the entrance to the dining room was dark, illuminated only with dim lights, and lined with trees. The walls and floor are decorated with the 'Hands of Fatima' symbols. Though I must say that the ceiling was a bit too low. I imagine someone tall should duck a bit to went through it.

The dining room is heavily decorated, a la middle eastern of course. Loads of geometric patterns, vibrant colors (mainly red & orange), beautiful colored crystal lamps, along with lavish tapestries and paintings. Again, the 'Hands of Fatima' is everywhere. It was believed to ward off evil. It works I think, since the place looks heavenly. I regretted not having a short tour to see the private rooms (namely The Red Room & The Green Room). They were said to be really lavish & exquisite (I only saw them on tiny pictures in magazines). Well, maybe next time..

Now on to the menu. Kitchen was closed when we arrived but they were nice enough to let us order some appetizers from the menu. They actually offered the tapas/bar food (menus look nice too) but we wanted to have some bread and dips. So we got ourselves Baba Ganoush and chose Moroccan bread to accompany it (Rp 38K). For drink, I ordered  Disaronno Mimosa (Rp 120K). It was a mix of orange juice & champagne (mimosa), but they twist it with a hint of rum (if I remember correctly). My other friend opted for one of the specialty cocktails, Milky Way (Rp 55K), a Bailey's based drink. While another opted for the house pouring champagne, the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin (Rp 110K). After that we were given small plates of bar snacks to go with the drinks: green olives, black olives, raisins, & peanuts.

The food was good. The Moroccan flat round bread was so soft and chewy. The Baba Ganoush, which is a mix of eggplants, tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil, was just yummy. We dig in and finished the small bread in seconds. So we ordered additional bread, choosing a pita/kebab bread (Rp 10K) this time. It was light, thin, and very soft. Very nice.

The drinks were equally wonderful. Or at least mine was. My mimosa was beautifully presented: a layer of OJ with orange fruit pieces, covered with bubbly champagne. All served in a tall champagne glass of course. I loved it! Though I must say, I winced at the price (but I was rewarding myself after I got my paycheck, so a once-in-a-while over-indulgence is OK, I think). My friend's drink, the Milky Way, came in a big glass. It was very sweet and creamy, not my kind of drink, but she seemed to be OK with it. My other friend who ordered the champagne was unsatisfied, said it tasted like beer. Well, I'm no expert (at all) when it comes to champagnes, but I think it tasted like, errr.. champagne. But she's always more into wine than champagne so she asked me to finish her glass. Of course I couldn't say no.

Total damage for the night (incl. tax & service charge) was Rp 402, 930. Was it worth it? I could say so, but just for the occasional once-in-a-while indulgence. Would I be coming back? Most definitely.

Middle Eastern Cuisine & Champage Lounge

Crowne Plaza Hotel
Jl. Gatot Subroto kav. 2-3, Jkt 12930
Tel: 021. 92901313 / 92601313 / 52892431

Picture of venue is courtesy of Maroush.

* Originally posted in Multiply, April 13, 2007

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