It is tough being a food critic when you are constantly asked the same question: 'Harry, where the heck can we find a decent Tunisian restaurant in this part of the world?' Finally, the question has been answered: in Macau, on Rua Bispo Medeiros, a little street near Lou Lim Iok Gardens. Here, a delightfully ebullient Tunisian, Gutouni Hicham, runs the Sharazad restaurant with a combination of faith, hope and couscous. The faith is that all those who claim to love Tunisian food will come. The hope is that the shipment of Tunisian wines will arrive soon to replace a paltry selection of Portuguese stuff. The couscous is simply one of the dishes he does best in a full menu. Tunisian food is not among the haute cuisine of the Arab world. Moroccan food is more sophisticated and sensuous, Egyptian has more imagination. Algerians wisely stick to a lot of French dishes, while the Libyans and Lebanese make up the Omega and Alpha of food. But Tunis is such a marvellous city dining in the bazaars is always a pleasure. But the Sharazad is no bazaar. It is a plain little establishment with a few Tunisian posters and a dozen ricketty tables. In fact, the only clue of Tunisian food is the menu and the Arabic music. The menu is simple but adequate, including shish kebab and other brochettes as well as couscous. Hicham also has some salads, chanaram meat, carved from the bone, a few sweets and a variety of 'bricks'. These are filo-like pastries, probably best known in their Turkish incarnation covered with honey. At Sharazad, I had eggs and tuna. Only in the Tunis souk have I enjoyed the same thin pastry triangle (like an Indian samosa) bursting with runny eggs and tuna. If not exactly delicious, it is a sensuous experience. Couscous, of Berber origin, is a staple in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The basis is semolina preparation, coarse and fine, to which is added vegetables, meat (in our case, mutton), and spiced with red peppers. What we had was adequate, but something was missing. 'Ah,' Hicham said as he came over and seemed most hurt we had not finished it. 'You don't like my cooking? Aha! That's because you are missing the harissa.' Harissa, the equivalent of Thai fish paste or soy sauce, is absolutely necessary for couscous. Every Tunisian family makes its own. Chilli sauce, mint, olive oil and other ingredients gives it the bite. There was no mint here, but the chilli sauce and olive oil had Hicham's own addition of coriander. It made the couscous very special. But his most special dish is the veal with lemon. In Tunisia, they use a pickled lemon, which Sharazad still does not possess. Instead, the restaurant has an incredibly delicious sauce. It took a long time to figure out the ingredients, because they were so simple. 'First, paprika,' Hicham said. 'Then lemon. Then chicken stock.' It was so fine we did a most un-kosher thing: we used the sauce over the couscous as well as the pieces of lamb. The rather ordinary meat was also saved by a helping of real Tunisian rice, obviously of the Italian long-grain quality. Super-sweet Tunisian desserts were not at hand, but two alternatives were recommended. The 'authentic' cream custard turned out to be boring, but the cheesecake was marvellous. The secret was using 100 per cent ricotta cheese, as well as fresh lemon on the crust. None of that shmaltzy sweetness of the Hong Kong variety, but a more acidic Tunisian interpretation. The restaurant opened for business in March and now it is hoping. 'Hoping our wines come in,' the owner said. 'Hoping for some real arak from Tunis, maybe with dates and figs and olives. And, of course, cumin, basil, sage and rosemary.' Inshallah, his dreams will be fulfilled, for this is an intriguing experiment. SHARAZAD ARAB CUISINE 28 Rua Bispo Medeiros (near Lou Lim Iok Gardens). Tel: (853) 569977 Open: Noon-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm.