Khaima has been demolished and completely rebuilt, however it is still a Moroccan restaurant with virtually the same menu as before. Inside it is totally different, giving the impression of being much larger, though that is impossible. The old Shisha Lounge at the front has gone and is now a long bar on raised flooring, with many stools streetside. Behind that bar is the front of the new restaurant, then behind a glass wall is the 2nd half. August 10, 2011
The following is my original review of the food at Khaima:
You sit cross-legged on cushions, as the dark brown tent flaps in the light breeze. A hookah is on the floor beside you, from which you occasionally take a puff of that water-cooled scented tobacco. A feast of Briouats, Tagines, Kaskous and Mechoui is spread before you. The smells of Morocco are everywhere!
No, you haven't taken a first-class trip to Fes, Casablanca or Marrakech. You are just dining, first-class, on Jln. Laksmana in Kerobokan, Bali.
The new Moroccan restaurant, Khaima, is a revelation. It was a long time in the creation but now proves to have been worth the wait. The atmosphere of Morocco has been faithfully reproduced, and the food is the real thing. Entrance to the central restaurant block is through a tented lounge, so authentic you will think you are entering another world! The rear courtyard part of the restaurant also has a ceiling tent, the tables surround a cooling water fountain. Though simple, the effect is startling.
You guessed it; Khaima is Arabic for Tent.
Fortunately all the effort has not just gone into creating an authentic atmosphere, the food takes over and transports you to a world of fantasy. Strangely, the lack of air-conditioning [how do you air-condition a tent] only adds to the Arabian atmosphere, although cooling fans always keep the place pleasant.
Briouats are Moroccan appetisers. Light, fluffy, filo pastry savouries [non-greasy] stuffed with a variety of spicy ingredients. The selection includes Briouats Bal Balkhodra [vegetable], Briouats Bal Tun [tuna with olive oil], Briouats Bal Djaje [saffron chicken], Briouats Bal Jben [goat cheese] and a special Arabic Briouat [beef and lamb kefta]. A Mixed Plate of Briouat is a perfect snack for one! It arrives with two filo triangles, one full of spicy minced beef and the other shredded chicken, as well as a tubed version full of tangy goat cheese. An appetizer with a difference is Pastilla, a chicken torte with cinnamon.
Salads are usually fresh and healthy but the only tastes are normally just from the basic ingredients. At Khaima a little extra flavouring is added, spices. Schlada Bal Khizou Wa Farfa is a warm cinnamon carrot salad, Chachouka a warm salad of tomatoes and three different bell peppers, Mechouia a warm salad of just green peppers served on a skewer. Zaalouk a simple eggplant salad and the house salad is Schlada De Dar.
Chorba soup is a Moroccan vegetable soup with oomph! Harira Ba Karoula is a vegetable soup combined with chickpeas. Baissar is a spicy lentil soup, how healthy can you get?
When you order a soup at Khaima you must also order some of their wonderful bread. The basic Moroccan bread is Khobz Ed Dar, or you can have Khobz Bal Jaljane, bread rolls scented with sesame seeds.
For your main course you have choices of three different styles of food: Tagines, Kaskous or Mechoui. Tagine describes the conical earthenware pot in which the dish is cooked, different ingredients for each dish but all combined with those tantalising spices of Morocco. Tagine Bal Ghalmi Wa Danjale is lamb and eggplant. Or you can have a Tagine Djaje Ba Zitoune [chicken with lemon and Kalamata olives], Tagine Bal Kefta [tomato kefta], Tagine Bal Hout [fish] or Tagine Makfoul [lamb with artichoke hearts].
The Lamb Tangines are sensational! Large chunks of tenderly braised lamb rest amongst your selected vegetables. Liberal use of the great Moroccan bread is essential to soak up the last remaining vestiges of spicy juice.
Couscous everyone knows! Well, at least I had thought that I did. What I had been used to was always the same: a lamb chop, a merguez sausage and some vegetables, all on a base of semolina. At Khaima you have many choices of different Couscous [or Kaskous in Arabic]. Kaskous Tfaya is lamb with onions and raisins, Kaskous Bal Khodra just a mix of seven different vegetables, Kaskou Bal Ghalmi Mechoui a lamb kebab. Kaskous Bal Djaje is those same seven vegetables but this time with chicken added as well, whilst Kaskous Bal Ghalmi is with lamb and Kaskous Bal Merguez is vegetables with that spicy merguez sausage. Khaima's own Couscous creation, a combination of many ingredients, is a great dish for communal sharing.
Mechoui is Arabic for something that has been grilled, and it is usually in Kebab form, on a skewer. The grills at Khaima include Mechoui Bal Djaje [chicken], Mechoui Bal Hjale [beef], Mechoui Bal Ghalmi [lamb] and a Kefta [minced meat], Mechoui Bal Kefta.
Desserts offer something different from the Bali norm. Kaab El Ghozal are Gazelle Horns?E There are Arabic versions of Almond and Walnut Cake and Baclava, whilst an Orange Salad with Orange Flower Water is refreshingly different as is an Almond Cigar [you eat it, not smoke it!].
Finish with traditional Assir Louz [almond milk], the very refreshing Atai Ba Na?Na [green mint tea], or a good strong Morroccan coffee. Your taste buds will have been assaulted during the past hour or two, but it will not be long before you return for another Arabian night!
Khaima is now also open for lunch, every day. A smaller menu consisting of snack-sized meals is the norm, although items from the regular menu may also be ordered provided they are ready by the time you want to eat [the Kaskous has a fairly long preparation time].
Bali is truly becoming the epicurean centre of Asia. People used to come to Bali to surf and shop. In the 21st century many will come just to eat!