Lafayette Gourmet, Galeries Lafayette's food hall, is a novelty in Dubai. An unexpected surprise of gourmet food and gastronomical delights on the top floor of a leading French retail destination. The variety of exotic cuisine served from around the world is unmatched in both taste and quality and includes Spanish tapas, Asian stir fries and Indian curries. The latest addition to the Food Hall is the North African traditional Tagines from Morocco, a distinct method of slow cooking stews in a cone-shaped clay pot.
Chef Issam is the man behind the scenes, cooking up these mouthwatering dishes, using age-old recipes that have been passed down through the generations. He originates from Casablanca, the place he refers to as ‘the capital of Moroccan food’.
A man who understands the importance of blending homemade spices and oils together to enhance flavors and textures, Chef Issam brings with him vast experience that began during his childhood from watching the women in his own family cook together.
The Chicken Tagine is cooked in ghee with saffron, caramelized onions and chicken liver. A complicated mix of unexpected ingredients, the combination is a winning one with a thick gravy and tender chicken.
Lamb is a mainstay across the regional North African cuisine, so it is no surprise to find Lamb Makfoul on the menu here. Cooked to perfection with meat falling off the bone, the mix of exotic spices and the strong flavor of cinnamon and onions make this dish flavorful and hearty.
Couscous, a national dish, is probably the most commonly known Moroccan food around the world and is now a staple at most healthy eateries globally. The soft grain is typically eaten with meat in Morocco. Chef Issam incorporates it in beautifully cooked Lamb Tfaya, made with tender pieces of chops cooked together with sweet raisins and thick chunks of pumpkin and carrots, served on a bed of couscous and drizzled with rosewater.
Moroccan food is heavily influenced from French, Moorish, Berber, Arab and Mediterranean cuisines, but its flavors remain distinct. Chef Issam pays homage to his rich culture by evolving classic recipes with a modern twist. He sources his ingredients directly from the medinas selling freshly ground spices, marinated lemons, and preserved olives, and brings the customers a rich array of flavors and the perfect taste of Morocco.
This Ramadan, or any other time of the year for that matter, indulge in hearty and delectable Moroccan fare at Gourmet Lafayette – and do some food shopping while you're at it as well!
Gourmet Lafayette is located at Galeries Lafayette, Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, UAE.
– Saira Malik
Images by Saira Malik