Cuju mastermind, Badr Benjelloun is at it again with his new restaurant Caravan. Situated in the old digs of Casa Brasil, across from the Brazilian embassy, he will be serving up a wicked rotating menu of Moroccan-inspired eats for dinner (RMB 150 for a three course meal) and a set business lunch during the day.
We started things off with Carrots Sharmula, a fresh carrot based salad mixed with mint, parsley, greens, black pepper and a Moroccan style vinaigrette dressing. It was a fresh mix and pleasing to the eye, with gigantic slices of carrots protruding from the bowl. Next up was the main course, a leg of lamb, sprinkled with prunes and almonds over red rice pilaf. The meat was deliciously tender and fragrant. We enjoyed mingling the pilaf with the natural juices of the lamb, a customary way to consume this dish. Needless to say, the plate was clean, with only a bone and a couple prune pits remaining. Finally, for dessert, they served up a flambé banana with rum raisin ice cream and cracked black pepper. If you know Badr’s MO, no meal is quite complete without putting a little rum in the mix. A deliciously sweet combination of hot and cold that rounded off the meal perfectly.
The space has a sharp, rustic look. While it’s still in the process of being filled with Moroccan and other appropriately themed flair, Caravan is set to inject a little color into the embassy area, where the only other signs of life seem to be a couple Russian restaurants and Maggie’s Bar. After 7pm this end of Guanghua Lu, near the second ring road, turns into a ghost town and Caravan has the chops needed to not only shuttle in the embassy crowd but also attract people who wouldn’t normally venture into this diplomatic wasteland.
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