Restaurant Review: Le Aladdin
An evening in another of Tokyo's fantastic theme restaurants is underway. It gets better as you are guided to your boudoir-esque seats, sumptuous cushioned cast iron chaise lounges and encapsulating chairs, with music reminiscent of twilight at the Djeema El Fnaa reverberating in your ears. No corner of the cavernous interior seems untouched by the enchanting, melancholy lyrics. We could only reply with an order of cocktails—the jet-blue Potechin (¥580) coconut liqueur, strawberry cream and pineapple juice and a Fes (¥600), a sour combination of lychee liqueur and ice balls of cranberry and grapefruit juices and champagne. Both were strong and full of depth, entertaining the taste buds before the mesmerizing scene as we awaited our orders.
Chefs Kuratani and Kamada offer a huge range of dishes, from traditional
North African to rice and noodles. All are reasonably priced, tempting
us to go for variety, but we stuck with the Moroccan fare. Shish kebabs
with Moroccan crepe (¥680) at first looked a little short on the tasty,
minted meat, but coupled with the soft bread and spicy sauce were succulent
and satisfying. Bean-starch warm salad couscous style miracle Morocco
(¥780) was heavy on the garlic and chili, more myriad of Japanese
fusion than the title suggested, but beautifully laid out on a layer of
pebbled ice, with a garnish of mint leaves and red radish shavings. The
menu was a little tough on the vegetarian, so we asked for the oven-baked
Berber omelet, delicately flavored with cumin and black pepper, without
the meat, and the extremely helpful staff obliged with a fluffy and light
offering that had a delicious crispy edge. We saved the best until last—Moroccan-style
Tajine local chicken, gently stewed in a earthenware pot shaped like a
magician's hat with potatoes, carrots, mangetout, prunes and raisins so
that the flavors collide in a sweet, rustic sauce.
Le Aladdin, 6F Musashinokaikan, 3-27-10 Shinjuku. Tel: 03-3351-3001.
Credit cards accepted. Open: 5pm-5am, Sun 5pm-11pm. Nearest stn: Shinjuku.
Menu: Japanese and English.