My friend Jess and I ventured on an east end adventure to Coxwell and Danforth even after we heard that there was a shooting at Coxwell station the day before. We were committed to finding Djerba (pronouced 'jerba', the 'd' is silent) la Douce which is a restaurant slightly off the beaten path that Jessica had been to and has claimed to be a 'must try' for me. We found it 2 blocks away from Coxwell station- it was a no frills restaurant that you may miss if you're not looking for it.
We were seated in the quaint patio behind the restaurant that only seats around 6 people, it was quite lovely with a colourful mural taking over the wall of a bedouin riding a camel in the desert. The chef and owner of this 4 year old restaurant, Adul, came out to greet us and invited us to taste all his culinary delights on the menu and suggested the calamari, shrimps and seafood. Unfortunately Jess is not a huge seafood lover so we opted for the meatier options on the menu which were equally delightful.
Then Adul came out right away to serve us some hot mint tea which is a very traditional thing to do to show hospitality. He poured it for us with a high pour over the glasses (2-3 meters) which was a good show. The sweetened black tea was a mixture of tea leaves and mint crushed together with sugar- it was aromatic, soothing and sweet- mmm... a good way to start our evening!
As an appetizer - it was suggested that we start off with the 'salad grill mushwa' - which is NOT a salad but a spread served with flat breads. It was a puree of garlic, eggplant, onion, chilli peppers (as it was HOT!) and served with olives and capers. He separated one side for Jess - non seafood and topped my side off with tuna. It was definitely an interesting flavour as it was creamy, spicy, fishy and pickly at the same time. I really enjoyed it and would recommend you trying it. The second appetizer came compliments of the chef- it was the 'brique' (which i heard pronounced was 'brie') - it was a flaky deep fried potato crepe with spices, egg and tuna. Because Jess wasn't a fan of tuna- he made 2 'briques' for her without tuna. They were very savoury but light which was a good thing because I felt like we ordered a lot!
As explained by Abul- everything in the restaurant is made fresh and he even brought out his rack of lamb to show us how beautiful and fresh the cut was. Adul even gave us the option of sauces - a nice mushroom pepper sauce which took him 7 hours to make, a mint sauce and a mustard sauce which was on the menu. We were taken by the way he was able to customize the menu and make the meat to order for us! We selected the rack of lamb with their creamy mustard sauce which was outstanding! It was served with grilled potatoes and zucchini- the lamb was perfectly cooked and I could've lapped up the sauce with bread or just as soup. It was soo delicious!
We also ordered the Chicken Merguese Couscous which was served in a tagine. It came with a heaping portion of couscous with a mixture of carrots, turnip, cabbage and mixed with Merguese lamb sausages in a tomato based sauce. The sausage was tangy and meaty which I enjoyed and the veggies were tender. I have to say our chicken was a little tough and not as tender as I usually like it but I love that I could eat the drumstick. The couscous was light, fluffy, and very flavourful but after all the food we had inhaled before- it was really tough to finish the couscous. We hear that we should definitely come back and try the crepe main next time.
We didn't think we had any more room for anything and out came home made baklava from Adul. It was very good with black sesame seeds on top of it without too much honey dripping out of it!
Although I have tasted some of these flavours before I can honestly say that this was my first experience with Tunisian food and it was a delight! Thanks Jess for the recommendation!
Djerba La Douce- 1475 Danforth Avenue (2 blocks away from Coxwell subway)