We purchased a Groupon certificate (otherwise we would have never found this gem) and visited this small, but intimate restaurant in the Gay Village area of Montreal's downtown. We were greeted by the owner Seima (a Tunisian gentleman who has recently purchased this restaurant after having immigrated from Brussels to Montreal). He was formerly a head chef at a very high end restaurant in Brussels and intends to turn this small cousouss/tajines restaurant (currently) into a culinary gourmet dining restaurant with more elegant and intricate food choices. Entrees allowed with the Groupon certificate were a choice of one of two salads Tunisienne or Mechaouia, both excellent, fresh and very savoury. The latter salad is spicier but Seima was kind enough to put the dressing on the side for me. Fresh warm bread was supplied and we tried his single choice of Tunisian wine (he is working on getting a wider and more vibrant selection of wines in), but his selection was both well priced and a great choice with our meals. ( not part of the Groupon offerings- this was extra)
For our main meals (two couples and we shared) we ordered 1 Chicken Couscous, 1 Chicken & Merguez, 1 Chicken Trajine with preserved lemon and 1 Lamb roasted Tajine with prunes. All meals were served hot and at the same time and considering that the owner is the only one serving, cooking, clearing up and welcoming people into his restaurant, the 20 minute wait was well worth it and not long at all. All the meals were savoury, well spiced, fresh and flavorful. The stand out dishes in this reviewer's mind were the Lamb roasted Tajine and the Chicken Trajine with Lemon. For dessert we had a quarter piece of Baklava which was not too sweet and a perfect finish to the evening. The MInt/almond tea was a fabulous to help digest the meal.
The food quality stood out, the owner was not only helpful, but very entertaining and truly made our dining experience memorable and pleasant. He has promised to keep us appraised of when he will be offering Mediterranean cooking classes in the future and we will attend.
It is refreshing to see how one man's understanding of the word Service and his Love for Food can have such an impact on an evening, that we all underestimated looking into this small hidden away gem from the exterior.
I highly recommend this restaurant.
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