Couscous and tagines are North African dishes that are very popular in France, not only because they are good, but also because it is the type of specialties that you cannot make easily at home as they require some special pots. For instance, a couscous is made in a double chamber steamer, called couscoussier, that you can also use...for dim sum...Some people cook the semolina by bringing water to a boil and then pouring it on it, but I can ensure you that it does not have the same taste and the grain is not as light as when steamed. There are plenty of restaurants serving couscous and tagines in Paris. One that is popular and has few locations in the city is Chez Bebert.
We went to the restaurant Porte Maillot as it was close to our hotel and therefore very convenient. The place was packed for a Wednesday! I could not believe it!
The decor was traditional and there was a certain ambiance, although I was glad that no belly dancers popped up and asked me to join them dancing!
After we ordered some nice wine, they offered us some aperitif.
It had different components, some spicy, some not. For instance, there were carrots cooked with cumin, olives or some brick a la pomme de terre (in the center, it is a feuille de brick similar to phyllo dough, stuffed with a denser version of mash potatoes).
Then, Jodi ordered a tagine de kefta aux oeufs et petits pois.
Tagine is a moroccan dish that is cooked covered in a clay pot. So it was a meatballs (kefta), eggs (oeufs) and peas (petit pois) dish, smothered in a light tomato sauce. It came extremely hot! This dish was fantastic! The meatballs/Kefta were very tasty and not dry at all. The sauce definitely absorbed some of the taste of the meat. A great dish!
On my side, I ordered the couscous Bebert, served with merguez (lamb sausages), lamb and chicken.
First, they brought us the veggies in a big tagine pot made of copper. They lifted the lid and we then discovered the vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beans and chickpeas), the sauce and the hot sauce called Harisa. Then, came the meat:
I really enjoyed the merguez that were not spicy and the lamb kebab that was extremely tasty. The chicken was perfectly cooked and very moist.
With all this came the semolina or couscous. What you do to assemble the dish is that you put some couscous in your plate, then the veggies, the sauce and hot sauce and then the meat. It is a very hearty meal, with nice bold flavors thanks to the strong taste of the lamb. I loved it!
We finished up with a delicious mint tea served with a little show on the video below.
This was a great dinner and there was a lot of food! Definitely a good address!
Enjoy (I did)!
277 Boulevard Pereire