Time Out Melbourne

As you’d expect from one of Mamasita's owners, Jason Jones delivers authentic Moroccan but in clear Melbourne style

South Yarra is looking better than ever. You’ve got super-café Top Paddock turning out some of the best breakfasts in town; new Aussie dive bar the Sweetwater Inn offering tinnies and good times; and now B’Stilla – a mod-Moroccan joint jazzing up the off-Chapel dining district with hard-to-pronounce dishes and a soundtrack of pure funk.

You’ll start with a complimentary thimble of sweet mint tea and dried apricots, but past that you might pair your tagine with anything from tequila cocktails to a longneck of Melbourne Bitter.

The fit-out is as clean a whistle in a washing machine. No detailed rugs and hookahs here. Instead, backlit panels of white slats and starred metal trellises cast patterns across plain yellow walls and acid-blonde wooden furniture. Très sheikh!

You can’t book, so get in early to claim a table in one of the side rooms or out on the enclosed heated patio. We’re usually big fans of sitting bar-side, but proximity to the door (which gets a lot of use) makes the central stretch of wood a breezy place to park.

Briwats are our pick of the many spiced-meat-or-veg-in-pastry starters. Here, thin, crisp pastry shells package a lemony mixture of rainbow chard, buttery leeks and cashew. We love the sticky oxtail and sweet onion filling in the rghaif, but it loses in the ratio war against a thick fried crepe casing.

This is straight-up, rib-sticking street food. You’ll eat a tagine. That’s not even a question. Ours is all soft quince, toasted almonds and a surprise mix of goat from soft gelatinous rib-meat to slightly chewier hunks of shoulder. Ladle the cooking liquor over a bowl of cous cous fancied up with smoked chilli and preserved lemon, and interrupt the party of protein and carbs with a salad of pickled cucumbers and bright red piquillo peppers.

Wine-wise, the short, all-local list has bottles starting at $60. But they’ve also got your back, frugal friends, offering decent house red and white wine on tap at $45 a litre.

B’Stilla offers the kind of informal, fun dining this area has needed forever. Onwards and upwards South Yarra!

First published on . Updated on .

By Gemima Cody   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

B'stilla details

Address
30b Bray Street, South Yarra 3141

Telephone 03 9826 2370

Open Mon-Thu 5.30pm-late; Fri, Sat noon-late; Sun noon-4pm

B'stilla website

B'stilla map

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