If you have a hankering for affordable and flavoursome Moroccan street food, head to Brunswick Street’s latest hole-in-the-wall eatery, B’Stilla Cantina. Brought to you by Jason Jones, the mastermind behind Mamasita and of course B’Stilla in South Yarra, at B’Stilla Cantina it’s all about the cheap and cheerful, which satisfies those looking for an early evening bar snack to a late night tagine feast.
This ex-san churros establishment is not made to accommodate a large crowd, and in truth that is part of the appeal. Because it is not a terrifically large venue you will not be lost amongst the crowd, and the service staff on the evening of our visit were attentive without being overbearing. They were knowledgeable, happy to offer up their own suggestions, and friendly—just what we like.
We started the evening at B’Stilla Cantina on an excellent note with a plate full of spiced sardine fritters, drizzled with a green charmoula mayo and a generous squeeze of lemon. The fish fell apart with ease and were great to share between two, even if you wind up fighting over them. Up next was the vegetarian rfissa, which is similar in style to a soft taco, and was filled with a chickpea-based filling and yoghurt. Our favourite dish of the night would have to be their lamb ribs, though, covered in date, lime and red dukkah. The meat was beautifully tender and the dates added a lovely sweetness to the meat; if we hadn’t just consumed the last plate available for the evening we would have gone another round of these for sure.
We also tried the savoury B’stilla, a traditional Moroccan pie, with a sweet and salty filling encased in a thin and crisp layer of brik pasty. While we were feeling very content at this stage we felt it was only right that we gave their lamb tagine a go, and it did not disappoint. It contained roast winter vegetables, chickpeas, yoghurt, cous cous and lamb, and we polished off every last bit of it.
We were offered a house wine to go with our meal, which was light and complementary to the food. Curiosity got the better of us when it came to B’Stilla Cantina’s house-made mocktails… The rosewater-spiked version will probably be favoured by visitors with a sweet tooth (and just quietly would certainly go perfectly with a little gin). The drinks list isn’t crazy large here but it all works with the food on offer, and they have some great local beers such as Mornington Peninsula and Bridge Road brews that are truly street food’s best accompaniment.
B'Stilla Cantina | 277 Brunswick Steet in Fitzroy
Image Credits: Sabine Legrand and Nick West for The Urban List