Step into another World
~ At Marrakesh Restaurant ~
We parked at the stadium in Marigot and ambled our way across the busy street towards the door to the Moroccan restaurant; we had no particular expectation which was maybe a good thing. Once we entered Le Marrakesh, it was like entering another world. A beautiful one at that. The decor is North African-inspired and they have every detail done with exquisite style and taste. The walls, ceilings and floors are all covered with geometric patterns, hand painted or draped with rich fabrics.
Reminiscent of homes with a central courtyard, Marrakesh has some dining sets placed under the stars, but sheltered from the wind, and surrounded by ornate decorations and greenery. We settled into a comfy couch with overstuffed pillows in vibrant textures and colours. We were seated under a tented section with muted shadows accented by lights peeking through diamond-shaped holes in metal lantern patterns of arched keyholes. The swaying lanterns cast interesting moving shadows on the walls and tables. Right away we knew we were in for a night to remember.
We were brought water and warm mint tea to start the evening’s dining pleasures. Our waitress was attentive, smiling and polite. The menu was just as elaborate as the setting. With a bit of guidance and explanation by our waitress, we discussed the options and decided on an appetizer plate of five salads. The main dishes would be couscous with lamb and merguez for one of us, and the other to enjoy one of their famous tagine dishes. Tajine are traditional Moroccan clay cookers, a base like a shallow bowl and a lid shaped in a squat cone. At the top of the cone is a small vent to let steam escape. But which tagine to select? The Tajine Berbere, Chicken with lemons and olives, sounded very appealing, but my friend suggested Tajine Fassi, chicken with honey and almonds. Other offerings included various ways to prepare lamb, including the Tagine Makfoul, which features lamb shank with caramelized raisons and preserved onions. You can explore the flavours of chicken or lamb to your heart’s content in this portion of the menu; and one Tagine offers a recipe of meatballs, tomato sauce, cumin and poached eggs brewing up inside.
The music was soft and exotic as we chatted and enjoyed the ambiance. Being a Wednesday, there was not a lot of business in the restaurant, but a few other tables held parties of families or couples on a date. We were a group of friends gathering to enjoy each other’s company and for this we had chosen the perfect location. The mood was ideal for conversation of a most light-hearted variety. We were informed that on Thursdays they have a belly dancer to entertain the guests and those nights are very popular and may require a reservation.
We received our appetizers, the Plateau de Kemia or “Tray of Salads” and passed it around. Six little bowls sat perched on the platter, each with a small spoon. A bit of this and that, all scrumptious and freshly prepared. One of tomatoes, one of cucumber/yogurt, another of humus and another of peppers and olives. Some held concoctions that were mostly unidentifiable, however, very tasty.
Once this was passed around our main entrees arrived, the presentation was so appealing you might want to photograph your food prior to digging in. The Couscous was exceptional, light and fluffy, delicately flavoured and adorned with brightly-coloured veggies and lamb, along with merguez – an extra spicy sausage of lamb, beef and mutton, chocked with cumin, harissa, garlic and fennel.
The Tajine I selected, the chicken with honey and almonds, was very special and so unique; the arrival of the Tajine to the table is worth the order by itself. The top is lifted off and the aroma is stunning. The chicken fell off the bone, the whole almonds were softened by the heat, but still firm and the honey-rich sauce gave a soft sweetness that didn’t overpower.
We stretched the evening out, talking about travels and various adventures, sharing bites of the dishes among each other, and drinking cups of mint tea. Eventually, we said, “Time to go.” Happily content, full of good food and warm ambiance, we vowed to return again and again and to eventually try everything on the menu. Marrakesh is a delight for all the senses; don’t pass the chance to try it for yourself.
169 Rue de Hollande
Across from the stadium
Telephone: (590) 27-54-48.
Open Daily from 6:30pm to 10:00pm
Staff friendliness: *****
Service speed: ****
Restaurant cleanliness: *****
Food quality: ****
Value for money: ****