Passageway to Africa

Recipes From the Motherland

By Serena Matter
Known across Canada for its fantastic food and unique approach to cocktails, Chambar is a longtime superstar of the country’s culinary scene — and now Chambar’s bar manager Wendy McGuinness has crafted a Moroccan-inspired Shrub cocktail exclusively for you. With its exotic flavors of sumac, star anise and cloves, the cocktail pairs perfectly with Chef Nico Schuermans’ Mussels Congolaise. This wildly popular dish is an African twist on the traditional Belgian dish of moules et frites, pairing mussels with smoked chili, lime and cilantro in a tomato-coconut cream. You’ll have a taste of Mama Africa right at home.

Mussels Congolaise

by Chef Nico Schuermans
(serves 2)


1.5 lbs mussels (cleaned)
Olive oil
1/4 red onion (julienned)
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chipotle purée
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tbsp ground fennel seed
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp toasted cumin seeds
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves 
Salt to taste


  1. At medium to high temperature, add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of a 2 to 3 liter pot and heat, being careful not to smoke the oil.
  2. Add red onions and garlic. Allow to cook until tender and onions have become translucent.
  3. Add the cleaned mussels to the pot followed by the fennel, coriander, black pepper and cumin, allowing spices to cover the mussels.
  4. Next, add coconut milk, fresh tomatoes, chipotle purée and lemon juice. Salt to taste.
  5. Allow mussels to simmer until they have opened.
  6. Once mussels have opened, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve immediately.


Moroccan Shrub

By Wendy McGuiness, Bar Manager 


1 oz of Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz of Moroccan spiced apple shrub
2 dashes of angostura bitters
3 oz of Chambar Ale, or equivalent Belgian pale ale
Dehydrated apple chip to garnish


  1. Prepare in advance the Moroccan spiced apple shrub (an extremely flavorful syrup). To do this, soak apples in white wine vinegar that has been infused with sumac, star anise, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. After a three-day maceration, press the soft apples through a fine sieve, then strain with cheesecloth to produce the syrup.
  2. Once you have your shrub ready to go, build the cocktail in a Collins glass over large ice cubes.
  3. Add bourbon, spiced apple shrub and bitters.
  4. Stir ingredients, then top with Chambar Ale.
  5. Garnish with an apple chip and enjoy!

By Serena Matter

Serena Matter is a writer, trendspotter and founder of the lifestyle magazine The Wanderlust Report. When she's not uncovering the newest hotspots as Daily Secret's Canadian editor, you can find her posting her escapades on Instagram and Twitter.