Tucked amidst the sprawling Serendra restaurant strip at The Fort, Fez offers Mediterranean fusion cuisine “with a Moroccan twist”. The food itself melds the artistic and culinary passions of the restaurant’s chef.

In order to understand for Mediterranean cuisine, Liz Montealegre, the self-proclaimed “queen
of the kitchen” and part-owner of Fez, went beyond studying recipes.

A self-trained chef whose family runs a catering a business and remembers cooking as early as seven years old, Liz admits to having such passion for Mediterranean cuisine ever since she read almost everything she could lay her eyes on about the region.

“I studied the culture of the people, their eating habits. I like studying their culture, their food, their lifestyle. It’s all very mystical to me,” she says.

In fact, Fez – fez in Moroccan can either mean “life” or refer to a traditional hat – is the second product of her passion. She also helped put up Moksha – moksha means “salvation” in Hindi – located in Greenhills and also offers Eastern European cuisine.

Mediterranean cuisine is characterized by the use of spices. Like Indian cuisine, it typically involves a lot of lamb and curry dishes. The subtle differences, however, lie in how spices are mixed and matched.

“It really depends on the degree of spices that you out and also how you mix different spices together. But you have to careful because it can be hotter than you think,” adds. “One facet of Mediterranean cuisine is using sauces that are home-made.”

Speaking of spices, there are touches of Asian cuisine as well. The chicken skewers, for example, is stuffed with bacon, served with rice pilaf and lies in a bed of sweet-spicy sauce. The sweetness provides an interesting balance to an otherwise typical kebab dish.

For appetizers, she recommends a plateful of pica-pica that includes lamb croquettes and Greek sausages that can be dipped in home-made curry and mint jelly. The curry is rich in appearance but unlike typical Indian curry (or Malaysian curry), it does not assault the taste buds with its spiciness right away. In this lies the aforementioned subtle difference of Liz’s cooking: the spiciness builds up gradually and becomes richer to the palate.

Liz is also an artist by nature – she teaches painting on the side – and it shows in her culinary creations (the curry and mint jelly, for example, has aesthetic merits). Like painting, a plate becomes her canvas and the blending of colors is an intricate part of every dish as well.

The belle melage ala fez, an original salad concoction, literally means “the most beautiful mess” but is actually a pretty mix of brown and green. Her roast pork in renata sauce is inspired by a character in an old movie she loves (Renata, of course).

The owners of Fez are also very particular with ambiance. Inside Fez, the feel is cozy and vintage, accentuated by antique floors and lamps. Glenn Yap, a co-owner at Fez, says the idea is to foster a “community” feeling. Since opening late last year, Fez already attracts a loyal following among the rapidly growing Serendra crowd.

“Meaning people come here at 7PM and usually leave at 1AM. Staying time is about three to four hours that’s why we cannot serve our food that heavily,” At Fez, you can waste away time and literally spiced up your conversations with your favorite lamb dish. Park your camel outside, if you have one.