R and I came across this Moroccan restaurant not far from our place last year. I have been reluctant to try it cos’ another restaurant (-that-shall-not-be-named) which promised to serve “authentic Moroccan cuisine” left me sorely disappointed previously when their chicken tajine tasted more like chicken with diluted mee rebus gravy. After that, I resigned myself to the fact that I would probably not be able to relive the taste I so loved in Morocco. But I am so so so glad we decided to take the plunge and try Pastilla! Their chef is from Chafchaouen and the taste is very close to what I remember.
We ordered 2 tajines to share (between $16-20 each). Each tajine comes with saffron rice or bread. The breads were fluffy with a crispy crust; we liked the bread so much, we ordered an extra basket (and this does not happen often for us)!
Chicken tajine with seasonal vegetables, olives and preserved lemons
The chicken was very tender and fell off the bones. The sauce had lotsa flavours coming together – essence of chicken, sweetness from the carrots and other vegetables, aroma of the truckload of spices. I am not sure what else went into the dish (I am sure olives and preserved lemons featured somewhere); it was a deeply flavourful dish.
The main difference from what we had in Morocco was the vegetables; but I can see why the dish cannot be exactly replicated. The Moroccan version is served with tons of whole olives and huge slices of preserved lemons. I suppose the chef had to make do with what is available (and cheaper) in Singapore and hence, the substitute of potatoes, carrots and onions. I still liked the tajine very much; but it would be good if the vegetables could be in smaller chunks.
Chafchaouen Tajine – beef meatballs in light tomato based sauce topped with eggs
The meatballs were quite gamey so not really for non-meat-lovers. The tomato sauce was also very flavourful with spices and an excellent dip for the bread. R wiped up every last drop of the sauce with his bread. The egg atop was fully cooked and added another dimension to the dish.
Overall, a lovely experience and I would highly recommend Pastilla for a true taste of Morocco. I can’t wait to return to try their other dishes especially the couscous tajine!
334 Changi Road
Open 5-1030pm (1130pm on Sat/Sun)