Mysterious oriental beauty
What will you think about when I talk about Morocco? Spices, rose or One thousand and one nights? In Lilya Moroccan Lounge and Bar, those who fancy the mysterious oriental beauty wouldn’t be let down.
Located in Lan Kwai Fong, the Lilya experience begins as soon as are welcomed with a wall of traditional Babouche slippers. The grand, ornate brass covered lamp is the ceiling centrepiece of the lounge, accompanied by low cosy lush couches and poufs. With an entire bartending and kitchen team from Morocco, you feel jumping into an Arabian Nights scene. Mixologist Younes Ateyah has been bar manager of a number of prestigious Moroccan restaurants. “Cocktail isn’t a popular drink back in Morocco, but I design drinks with Moroccan spices with homemade syrup and infused spirits. With careful matching and experiment, I spent two to three months to complete the drinks list.” A large part of the cocktail’s glassware, garnishing flower and red pepper are shipped from Morocco, which makes the North African story more complete.
Any Moroccan experience wouldn’t be complete without spices. Rass hanout is a staple mix for every family and is made of as many as 27 spices including cardamom, cumin, clove and cinnamon. It usually goes into all kinds of food, but Younes infuses it into his syrup which is an ingredient of his signature Oriental Fashion. “I’m probably the first guy to have rass hanout in a cocktail,” he laughed. Oriental Fashion is filled with oriental aromas of spices, orange and lavender, it is served under a large bell jar injected with smoke. Is the smoke intended to create a fairytale like atmosphere? “The first time I saw a tagine dish was served, the roaring steam made my first impression. It is a representative of Morocco, so I decided to re-create it in a cocktail setting.
To add to guests’ visual interest, Lilya ordered a bulk of miniatures of the signature cookware especially to serve one of its cocktails, Majorelle. But to say the most beautiful utensil set, Lilya Mojito is not to be missed. A flavour base of citrus fruit freshens the spices, which is poured into a antimony tea pot with delicate arabesque and tall cup, “that pot looks like Aladin’s lamp, doesn’t it?” said general manager atom Brussels.
Apart from directly adding spices or seasoned syrup in the drinks, Younes made his own infused liqueur. For example, he infused verbena into vodka, and gin with jasmine tea. While the aroma by different ways of extraction displays the different characters of the spices in a drink, it also creates a more delicate garden of the orient.
說到摩洛哥，就少不得香料。其中一種家家戶戶都常用的香料醬rass hanout，其中包含了如小豆蔲、小茴香、丁香、肉桂等二十七種香料，一般用來加進各式食物裡，Younes就用來製作糖漿，以加進自己的代表作Oriental Fashion裡，「以rass hanout加進雞尾酒裡，我應該是第一人。」Younes笑說。這杯雞尾酒不單充滿香料、橙皮和薰衣草等東方香氣，上桌時更以一個注滿煙的大鐘罩呈上，煙霧彌漫是為了營造如童話般的效果？「一次我看到一個塔吉鍋（Tagine）上桌，鍋蓋一打開就是蒸騰的煙霧，我覺得那很能代表摩洛哥，就將那形象用在這雞尾酒上。
塔吉鍋也可算是摩洛哥的一種代表性烹調工具，酒吧特地訂製了一批迷你塔吉鍋，用來盛載其中一款雞尾酒Majorelle，精緻有趣。不過若要選最漂亮的杯具，就不能錯過Lilya Mojito，這雞尾酒的口味是柑橘味底子配以香料的清爽味道，以充滿雕花的錫製小茶壺和高身水杯上桌，「那小茶壺看起來就像阿拉丁神燈對吧！」餐廳總經理Tom Brusse笑說。
2/F, Carfield Commercial Building, 77 Wyndham Street, Central
Contact 聯絡︰2526 2578
Opening Hours 營業時間︰18:00 P.M - 01:00 A.M