B'Stilla (pronounced Bas-stee-ya according to their menu) was brought about by co-owners Leon Kennedy and Jason Jones - a Moroccan gem in the depths of South Yarra. After numerous calls to change our booking (probably to the exasperation of the staff there!), Mr A and I finally made it to B'Stilla for date night on a warm Friday evening. I had heard nothing but great things so I was very excited to try it out!
Complimentary starters of date shortbread and sweetened mint tea. It was a sweet start to our meal but they somehow manage to get our appetites raring for a good feed.
Sweetened mint tea and date shortbread (complimentary)
The beautiful sunny afternoon facilitated our moods for something refreshing rather than our Winter go-to of red wine. While I went for a glass of Chenin Blanc from Voyager Estate which wasn't too dry, a hint of sweetness with some acidity to balance it off, Mr A went for a schooner of the house B'Stilla brew, which turned out to be really nice - crisp, light with a floral aroma.
Voyager Estate 2012 Chenin Blanc (glass $9) & B’Stilla Brew (schooner $9)
The petite scallops were hidden amongst the mash of lentils and various herbs. A healthy squeeze of lemon highlighted the natural sweetness of the scallops while the nutty and spiced flavours all combined well in this Moroccan 'taco' style dish. Had we not wanted to try a variety of dishes, we could have easily ordered a few more to satiate our bellies.
Rfissa – scallops, lentils, msemen pancake, fenugreek ($8)
Mr A and I debated if anyone had actually visited B'Stilla without ordering its namesake, the pigeon and duck 'pie' - surely not!? Although the combination of icing sugar and cinnamon seems odd to dust on top of a pie, it is strangely delicious. The shatteringly crisp pastry hid away a mixture of pigeon and duck with chunks of almond in the mix. The highlight of this dish would definitely be the crisp exterior which just had me wanting more. Mr A found the filling to be on the bland side but I like the subtle flavourings.
B’stilla – pigeon, duck, almonds, cinnamon, saffron, egg ($13)
Our main dish of the night were the beef ribs which were tender, flaking away and utterly unctuous. We were recommended to eat the meat with a combination of the carrot jam and the fresh herbs - in doing so, we discovered that indeed it was a delightful mouthful. The fresh herbs and preserved lemon zest lifted from the heaviness of the short beef ribs and the carrot jam balanced it all nicely.
Beef short rib, carrot jam, preserved lemon ($32)
We love ourselves a good cauliflower dish, especially when they come out charred like this one. Still retaining a bite to the texture and drizzled with herbs and pine nut paste, it was so good that I had to finish it all despite being so uncomfortably full.
Cauliflower, pine nut paste, ras el hanout (A Moroccan spice blend), herbs ($8)
This dessert was not just all looks, it had personality too. The rosewater caramel flan had a distinct rose aroma yet it wasn't overwhelming or mistaken for perfume. The date paste underneath the flan was rich and sweet but did not compete with the flan and the walnut nougatine added the much needed texture to this flan dessert. So many textures and flavours in this delectable dessert.
Rosewater flan, dates, walnut nougatine ($11)
The tahini (sesame paste) ice cream was nutty and subtle - allowing it to mix and match with the various elements on the dish making for a different textural and flavour experience in each mouthful. The crumbly honeycomb gave a natural sweetness, while the citrusy flavour from the orange blossom floss melted away with the ice cream..
Tahini ice cream, honeycomb, orange blossom ($10)
The service throughout the night was consistently on the ball and our waitress served us well, especially when it came to recommending each of us our respective drinks according to our preferences. Every single dish was just quality and considering we were both stuffed for the tidy sum of $100, we thought it was superb value! A great place to venture out to if you're looking for something different from the usual Mod Oz or Mexicana - definitely give it a try.
Will I return? Yes, I'd love to try the rest of the menu.
30b Bray St
South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9826 2370
Tues to Thurs 5:30pm - late
Fri & Sat 12pm - late