It’s rather curious that Edinburgh has so few Moroccan restaurants. Aside from Cafe Casablanca, the Moroccan cafe on Leith Walk that I visited, today, I can’t think of a single other one.
That’s not to say that the influence of Morocco isn’t felt. There are many places serving tagine dishes, Union of Genius regularly showcases harira, and there’s a strong North African influence to places like Mediterranean Gate and Pomegranate.
On my visit, I found the brightly-fronted place quite quiet, but a number of folks followed my lead, meaning it was soon looking a little more loved.
Their menu, much like that at nearby Cafe Nemrut, is in two parts, with a selection of standard cafe dishes, like baked potatoes, soup, sandwiches, paninis etc available, then an array of dishes from the owner’s native cuisine.
From the Moroccan dishes, I opted to start with harira, a traditional soup, then followed with a lamb kofte tagine.
As they fixed my order, I had time to take in the surroundings, which featured lots of Moroccan items. The traditional music added to the vibe, too.
My smiley waitress soon appeared with the soup, which was served in very smart crockery. The soup proved to be very tasty, with its warm spicing proving highly effective at chasing away the day’s bitter cold. I was very pleased with it.
The lamb meatballs, which comprised the primary element of my main course, were full of meaty goodness, but the dish really needed an extra element to bring it together. The sauce was good, but the spicing could have been a little bolder, and there could have been a few more peppers and onions to provide textural variation. The accompanying crusty bread, though plentiful, didn’t complement things quite as well as something like a little flatbread might have.
So overall, I rather enjoyed my visit to Cafe Casablanca. Edinburgh has a really good variety of cuisines for lunchers and diners to sample. It’s one of the city’s real culinary strengths. For that reason alone, I’m glad Cafe Casablanca is here to fly the flag for Morocco. On its own merits, it’s very much worthy of a visit, as it offers some rather tasty home-style Moroccan dishes, so do pop in, next time you’re passing.
Blythe scores Cafe Casablanca
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: harira; lamb kofte tagine
I drank: sparkly water
I wore: high-performance socks
Total bill: £11.90