Exotic treat

IT was a code brown in my house this week with the kids crook with gastro.

A trip to a restaurant was out of the question, so I opted for a takeaway from a new Moroccan/Eastern Mediterranean joint in Palmyra called Jawhara.

Part of a small group of shops opposite the Hawaiin shopping centre, it used to be the old Miami Bakehouse, which was frankly rubbish.

I would regularly go there for a pie on Saturday lunchtime, only to be told they had none left. 

What? No pies in a pie shop? How very un-Australian. I nearly called ASIO and demanded an orange boiler suit and a flight to Guantanamo Bay on the spot.

Jawhara has a nice range of authentic takeaway dishes including starters (batata harra, fattoush salad, stuffed grape leaves), mains (chicken tagine, lamb couscous, lamb with prunes (definitely not an option)) and charcoal grills, sides and a kids menu.

A compact but varied menu that would satisfy most dilettantes of Moroccan cuisine.

I opted for the chicken tagine ($23.50) and my wife and now-well daughter went for the Chicken Taouk ($22.50) and Beef Meshwi ($26.50) from the Charcoal Grill.

I’ve had Moroccan food once before from a local takeaway and it was poor and inauthentic, like watching a version of Casablanca starring Harold from Neighbours.

Boy oh boy, did this make up for it.

A beautiful dish with tender boneless chicken infused with an exotic sauce of confit lemon and olives.

The zesty lemon really shone through and went perfectly with the saffron and cilantro (the leaves and stems of the coriander plant).

The chicken was melt-in-your-mouth and the crispy potatoes added a nice texture to the dish. Top notch and loads of it (I had leftovers for my lunch the next day).

There were lots of “mmms” coming from the other side of the table; my wife wasn’t watching a Brad Pitt movie on TV, but enjoying her marinated chicken breasts with dips and saffron rice.

“The marinade is divine and the chicken really high quality,” she said.

“I love the exotic saffron rice and it’s a good-sized portion.”

Rounding off the dish was a large half grilled tomato and a jumbo green chilli pepper.

I tried my daughters beef meshwi (basically the same dish with a grilled porterhouse kebab) and it was fantastic.

The marinade on the meat was complex and rich, enhancing the tender chargrilled steak. Delicious. 

We interspersed the mains with some stuffed grape leaves ($12.50) which were akin to dolmades, but with a slightly spicy refrain.

I thoroughly enjoyed my takeaway from Moroccan newbie Jawhara.

Hopefully they can keep up the high standards and it’s not just a fluttering of the eyelashes for the first few months.

By the end of my meal, I felt like a slightly overweight Rick from Casablanca.

“Ilsa, We’ll always have Palmyra…”

Jawhara
369-375 Canning Hwy, Palmyra
jawhara.com.au

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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