Entering Maroush is like travelling into a world thousands of miles away from Jakarta. VE HANDOJO indulges himself in the glory of regal Moroccan cuisine.
None would expect that inside the rather boxy building of Crowne Plaza you would find a venue rich with Moroccan ornaments, patterns, dining tables, chairs, and of course, dishes. What once was the site of Plaza de Espana, now is Maroush, a new fine dining restaurant created by owner Deepak Samtani together with Executive Chef Sezai Zorlu – the genius behind the all-time favorite Turkish restaurant Anatolia. An Avant Garde design team successfully fashioned the establishment with wonders from the Middle East, making even the most detailed parts of Maroush a visual delight.
The genuine Moroccan double-door welcome transports diners to a passage underneath an arch of tree branches, illuminated by large candles. The cute jungle has a humbling effect, obliging patrons to bow their heads as they walk into a spacious lounge and bar – just like a courtyard in front of a royal palace.
Hands of Fatima – a symbol to express blessings and protection – are carved and displayed everywhere. Along the wall behind the shisha lounge are real Moroccan swords that endorse a sense of chivalry. Bold red, blue and green shades set a backdrop for exquisite Moroccan ornaments rich with gold and silver. All is lit by Moroccan lanterns, also rich in texture and detail.
If you ask for the drink list, you will receive a menu book that runs to twelve pages. Maroush is officially the first champagne bar in Jakarta, serving especially Veuve Cliquot. This is only one of the few places where you can enjoy a large variety of champagnes by the glass and the bottle. The wine cellar keeps practically everything, from 2005 Ardeche Chardonnay, 1993 Opus One Double Magnum, to the Rp 25 Million Cristal Champagne 1994 Magnum.
The excellence of the beverage list is on a par with the dining menu. It displays a complete range of Moroccan and Turkish favorites, including filo pastries, kebabs, tagines, hummus, couscous, and many more.
The best way to enjoy Moroccan food is to start with the smell. It is indeed an olfactory delight when the tagines are served. Tagine d’lahman k’dra is a whole pigeon cooked in saffron sauce with almonds, onions, and other Moroccan spices. Expect a well-tendered pigeon enriched with textures and flavors from the secret Ottoman empire cook book.
Mostly, it would be a nutty secret, as cooking with dried fruits and nuts is very popular in Morocco. Almonds are to be found practically everywhere in Morrocan cooking. Basically, Moroccan cuisine is heavily influenced by Spanish, French, and Mediterranean (or is it the other way around?), plus recipes inherited from all the tribes of Morocco.
The filo pastry list consists only of must-tries, and the champ is bastilla bilhout – prawns, shrimps, calamari, vermicelli cooked with selected spices, then baked in a wood oven.
Diners who want to go really nuts and try everything should go for the tapas menu and order everything on it. As everything in Maroush is digestible and healthy, everybody can have a true epicurean party with absolutely no guilty feeling; to the diet consultants, nor the financial advisor. With the prices ranging from Rp 35,000++ (lentil rice soup) to Rp 225,000++ (lamb shank), the Maroush experience has easily become one of the city’s best fine dining bargains. Maroush is also an elegant address for vegetarians.
Wrap the whole evening in the most bonding tradition ever: smoking the shisha. Maroush is ready to incense itself with flavors of vanilla, apple, strawberry, cherry, lemon, orange, grape, mango, banana, and even Cola. Smoking shisha is another reason one dines at a Middle Eastern restaurant and in Maroush, the authentic affair can be enjoyed as an imperial experience.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Jakarta
Jl. Gatot Subroto Kav. 2-3, Jakarta 12930
Tel: +62-21-92901313, 92601313