Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Miscellaneous Food: The Kensington Crêperie

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a really good crêpe. Somehow they always seem too thick and heavy, and if you’re thinking of having them for tea, chances are you’ll need to have a very light lunch and dinner, which is something I’m not very good at doing.

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But someone told me someone told him that this little crêperie near the South Kengsington tube station serves the best crêpes in London. Well, with an accolade like that, there was no way I was not giving it a try, lunch and dinner be damned.

Since the crêperie doesn’t open till 11am, I decided to have brunch, and was pleased to see that they offered a choice of white, milk or dark chocolate on all their chocolate crêpes.

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I decided to go for their banana and dark chocolate crêpe, even though I was sorely tempted by the option to include some rum. The crêpe arrived decently sized, so you probably will need to have a light lunch and dinner, and I could see at once that it was going to be, to my pleasure, very chocolatey.

The staff’s crêpe-making skills are considerable – the crêpe was easily one of the best I’ve had. From the point of the wedge to about midway, the crêpe was moist and dense with chocolate, and the addition of sweet, unctuously luscious banana slices merely added to the mouthful of delight. The generous frosting of icing sugar and squiggles of chocolate sauce didn’t hurt, either. The hallmark of a good crêpe is the duality of its texture and uniformity of its thinness, and true to form the crêpe was crispy towards the edges but remained wafery-delicate.

They also do savoury crêpes, but I’ve never really been a fan of those, so I won’t be trying them anytime soon.

The Kensington Crêperie (Casual)
2 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7
Tel: 020 7589 8947

Location: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5
Service: N/A
Food: 4.5/5
Overall: Excellent place for breakfast or tea

Miscellaneous Food: Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Charles Campion notes in his review that the words “gourmet” and “burger” are not well-suited. Still, this chain has staked its claim, and its claim is that it serves one of the best and most generous burgers in London, at comparably modest prices.

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The concept itself is fairly straightforward – you either eat in or takeaway. If you eat in, you go up to the counter, order, pay, and your burger is delivered to your table; rather like any Burger King or McDonalds joint.

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I’m a sucker for milkshakes, and I just have to order one when I see it on the menu. Unfortunately, the one I had at GBK is without a doubt one of the worst excuses for a milkshake I’ve ever had. There was no detectable chocolate in it, and was very milky. It should have been marketed as a chocolate milk milkshake, and even then that would have been generous.

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Thankfully, the burger came to the rescue. I had the “classic”, which involves an 8 oz. patty of Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, onions and tomato relish. The whole burger is quite large, standing about 6 inches tall, although about half of that is due to the bun. Still, I must admit it was quite good – juicy, medium, and tasty, how all burgers should be.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Casual)
107 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London SW7
Tel: 020 7581 8942

Location: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5
Service: 2.5/5
Food: 3/5
Overall: Avoid the milkshake at all costs, but the burgers are good

Miscellaneous Food: Boxwood Café

I was not a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s cooking. Granted, I had never actually tried any of his cooking, but I had looked through one of his recipe books, and hadn’t liked his recipes.

Still, with an empire of restaurants (eight, at present) across London, he must be doing something right. On a friend’s recommendation, I decided to try one of the newer (and more affordable) offerings, Boxwood Café at Knightsbridge.

A couple of things should be noted about Boxwood Café. First, even though it’s right next to the road, it’s very easy to miss. It has a very unassuming exterior that I walked right past without even realising.

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Second, its very name is a misnomer. This is no more a café than I am a cardiologist. The moment you walk in, a reception greets you and enquires if you have a reservation, and there is a coatroom to handle your jackets and other bulky belongings (in my case, a haversack). Service is attentive, polished, and quite French – almost all the waitstaff were French, though that’s not too surprising in the Knightsbridge area.

Some reviews have bemoaned the dark, moody feel of the décor, but personally I quite liked it – very in keeping with the understated touch of class permeating the whole restaurant; reinforced by the fact that almost every patron of the “café” was in suit and tie, or otherwise formerly attired. I felt distinctly under-dressed in my jeans, but it was to the credit of the staff that they barely raised an eyebrow, and service was equally personable in my direction.

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Bread is served with the traditional lightly salted butter and a less traditional taramosalata – a Greek dip made with olive oil, cream and cod roe. I’ve never had it before, and it was a great first experience; the taramosalata was light, creamy and the taste of the briny roe was ample without being overwhelming – a deft touch and a delightful spread that totally enlivened the rolls it was served with.

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I had a white onion soup with roasted shallots and rosemary croutons, a frothy affair that arrived in a cast iron pot and was poured into my soup bowl in front of me. Again, fancy, and definitely not what you’d find in a café. The soup was perfectly executed; an adroit balance between texture, taste and density. Mild, light and just a little sweet, the only drawback was that the soup was rather too lukewarm.

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Uncharacteristically, I opted for a light meal, choosing the ravioli of Italian squash, served with caramelised hazelnuts and shaved parmesan, goat's curd and wilted herbs. The combination looked unusual and I was prepared, somewhat perversely, to be disappointed. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed this vegetarian option – the ravioli was extremely delicate, and the squash purée was sweet and rewardingly hot, offset by the creamy and rich curd. The parmesan shavings were unbelievably thin, while the herbs had surrendered their strength (the sage was notably mild) and served almost as vegetables.

Although my meal was short, it changed my opinion of Gordon Ramsay and his style of food. Despite his many outlets, he does not appear to have over-extended himself; the quality of food is very high, and service standards are impeccable. I’ll definitely be dining at his restaurants again, as soon as I can start affording them.

Boxwood Café (Modern British)
The Berkeley, Knightsbridge, SW1
Tel: 020 7235 1010

Location: 3/5
Ambience: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5
Overall: Well-worth the rather hefty price tag

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Miscellaneous Food: Spain


Day One


After a harrowing crossing from the port town of Tangier, we finally made it into Spain and arrived in Seville, the capital of Andalucia and famous for flamenco, bull-fighting and tapas. It was, of course, with tapas that we were primarily concerned, and our first lunch was a small tapas joint called Las Coloniales (19 Plaza Cristo de Burgos), which turned out to have the cheapest tapas in all of Seville.

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The only problem was that we didn’t speak any Spanish, and the waiter didn’t speak any English. Deciding to start with something familiar, I ordered a plate of jamón iberico, or cured Serrano ham, Spain’s equivalent of Parma’s famous prosciutto. As I enjoyed the thin, silky slices, we pondered on what else to order, and decided to simply point at what other people were ordering.

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This proved to be a useful tactic, as our next serving, salmorejo con jamón, turned out to be superb. Salmorejo is generally a soup made from fresh tomatoes and breadcrumbs, rather like a chunky gazpacho, but here it was made into a spread and slathered across a crusty slice of bread, topped with diced ham and olive oil. Amazingly sweet and refreshing, we were astonished to find salmorejo costing five times more in other restaurants. Thankfully we stumbled onto such a good deal early into our Spanish leg.

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I felt like having some Spanish chorizo, so I randomly pointed at another selection, huevos de codorniz con chorizo, and again was very happy with the result. Little fried quail’s eggs sitting atop a sliced Spanish sausage, beneath which was a toasted crostini, these bite-sized morsels were the perfect starter to any meal. The eggs were perfect sunny-side-ups, with the rich yolks running unctuously as you bit into them.

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Next we had solomillo al Roquefort, tender steak slices covered in a thick sauce enriched with roquefort cheese, served over roasted potatoes. The strong sauce was an excellent pairing, adding an extra dimension to the meat without overpowering it, and helped to give the potatoes some depth of flavour.

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Running out of options as to what to order, we pointed at the recommendation of the day, which turned out to be fried squid. Unlike typical fried calamari, this did not taste like rubber, but was perfectly cooked – succulent and firm, but providing just the right amount of resistance before yielding to the bite.

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Our last order was pechuga de pollo con salsa de almendras, chicken breast sauced with a mild pepper cream sauce. This was fairly unremarkable, and was a comfortable end to our excellent and extremely affordable meal.


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Although Valencia is the home of paella, it is possible to find paella dishes in Seville; they just tend not to be very good ones. Dinner was a plate of paella cooked with chicken and peppers, but I found little in it to be enthused about and was already looking forward to the next tapas meal.

Day Two


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We were recommended to try the tapas at Vineria San Telmo at 4, Paseo Catalina de Ribera, and we discovered they offered a five-course tapas degustation menu for €16, which we decided to go for. The idea of a tapas degustation seems like a redundancy, but it is clear that San Telmo is a modern tapas bar that does not hesitate in departing from convention.

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We started with a red spinach salad, dusted with sesame seeds and sherry vinegar, matched with quince jelly and marinated quail. The quince was an unusual addition, tasteless but for subtle undertones of sweetness, and as quail is not a very strong-tasting meat, the most distinct flavours were the vinegar and sesame.

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Our next course was homemade foie gras mi-cuit in vanilla oil, served on a bed of arugula leaves and frosted peanuts. While the foie gras was faultless, smooth and rich as foie should be, the overall impression of the dish was one of sweetness. The vanilla, in lending a perfumed fragrance, also over-emphasised the sweetness of the frosted peanuts. A better option might have been to balance the richness of the dish with a tart sauce or salted rather than frosted peanuts.

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Food that is visually impressive always seems to taste better, if only because the sensory appeal of the food’s aesthetic presentation compensates for a deficiency in the other smell and taste departments. Whatever the reason, I quite enjoyed our basmati rice cooked with beet root and mushrooms, decorated with a nest of dried shallots. The grains of rice were plump and firm, and the beet root dyed them a deep rose hue, enhancing the overall sex appeal of the dish.

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Next was a tuna fillet with tempura rings on a garlic ajo blanco sauce. The trout was cooked to perfection, the outside skin seared and slightly crisp while the inside was still reddish-pink and meaty. The crunchy tempura and the creamy mayonnaise-like sauce provided contrasting textures and an inventive mix of flavours.

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I ended with a seared duck breast paired with pumpkin purée, which was mildly disappointing after the creativeness of the earlier courses, but was undoubtedly well-executed and reflected the chef’s solid grasp of more traditional cuisine. Overall, the meal at San Telmo was rewarding and reminded me of the many facets of Spanish gastronomy, and its unbridled willingness to explore the boundaries of modern Spanish food.


One of the best things about Spain is their treatment of chocolate. While I’ve always been a fan of hot chocolate, most of the time the hot chocolate you receive in cafes is only barely drinkable, and is a disgusting parody of what true hot chocolate should be.

Pierre Hermé provides an excellent recipe for chocolat chaud à l’ancienne in his book on chocolate desserts, but even in Paris too many cafes sell you the anglicised version of hot chocolate; watered down and made from second-rate chocolate powder, rather than give you the real stuff – pure melted chocolate mixed with small amounts of either milk or water.

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In Spain, they take their hot chocolates seriously – very thick and very sweet. My first hot chocolate was in fact a hot chocolate sauce, and quite literally could have been used to coat strawberries. While even I found this too cloying, I was greatly appreciative of the Spaniards’ respect of what a proper chocolate drink should be like.

Subsequently, I enjoyed rich, luxurious hot chocolates in several bars and cafeterias across Andalucia, including a Ben and Jerry’s outlet in Granada. One memorable experience was churros con chocolate, a traditional breakfast of hot chocolate accompanied by fried fritters, rather like the you tiao that accompanies Chinese porridge.

Day Three


Sadly, many of our meals, because we didn’t know where to go, tended to be unrepresentative of true Spanish cuisine, more often than not the stuff only tourists would get.

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Case in point, a restaurant in Ronda where I had a gazpacho, which was decent enough, since it’s quite difficult to mangle what is essentially tomato juice with added ingredients.

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My main course pork fillet done in the traditional style though, was nothing more than a tasteless piece of pork disguised with a tart tomato sauce, served with a measly amount of rice, fries, and very oily vegetables.

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Even dessert, what should have been an enjoyable crème Catalan, tasted more like a very sweet jelly drowned in a caramel sauce. As in everywhere else, the bad food tends to outnumber the good, unless you’re in the know or happen to be exceptionally lucky.

Day Four


Arriving in Granada, we tried to look for some tapas for lunch, but the concept of tapas was somewhat different in Granada; being a small portion of food that arrived free with a drink you ordered, rather than an assortment of small dishes you could order on their own.

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Seeing rabbit on the menu, I decided to order it. The resulting dish, a hearty stew served with a rich sauce heavily laced with garlic, tasted just like chicken, but with many more bones. I suspect rabbit is not more commonly eaten because of just how troublesome it is to eat – more time was spent picking off the bones than picking off the meat.


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We decided the best way to have a tapas meal was to order the surtido de tapas, or assortment of tapas, from different bars. Tapas in Granada tends to be more coarse than its Sevillian counterparts, our first assortment was merely cheeses, sausages and ham atop slices of bread. It’s entirely possible that’s what tapas started off as, but something slightly more updated would have been appreciated.

Day Five



Our misfortune continued the next day, as a €14 plate turned out not to be an assortment of tapas, but a selection of meats: mainly chorizo, with some ham, cheeses, paté and pork. These might have been nice paired with crostini or crackers, drizzled with some olive oil or sweet vinegar, but on their own they were somewhat dry and dismal.


Still hungry, we went in search of pulpo a la gallega, a Spanish dish of cooked octopus. When we finally found it, I didn’t think much of it, as the taste of the white wine garlic sauce seemed to mask the flavour of the seafood.

Venison stew

I also had a venison stew as part of my main course, cooked in a rich red wine sauce. Venison lends itself particularly well to stews, as it is more full-bodied than beef, and doesn’t become tough and stringy as easily.

Day Six

Bodegas Castaneda

Lunch on our final day was at Bodegas Castaneda (5, Calle de Elvira), this tourist-accredited tavern that does a roaring business in Granada.


We’d seen how crowded it was the night before, and the food it served looked good, so we decided to order some tapas and hope for the best.

Mushrooms and ham

We first had an interesting broth of mushrooms and diced ham. The resulting mix was both earthy and meaty, but fairly salty from the addition of the cured ham. Fortunately there was bread on hand to soak up the sauce and offset the saltiness.


The plato Caliente was an assortment of ham, bacon, croquettes, pepper skins, tortilla, cheese and turkey breast, an extremely filling assortment that was hearty and characteristic of the bar food in Granada which, while lacking in sophistication, made up in quantity and taste.

Miscellaneous Food: Morocco

I recently spent some time in Morocco and Southern Spain, and enjoyed myself thoroughly in both countries. One reason was that in both places I was able to experience completely different approaches to food and its appreciation: in Morocco emphasis was placed on the use of spices and earthy comfort food, with little innovation or inventiveness, nothing fancy or nouveau about Moroccan cuisine even in the finest restaurants; while in Spanish gastronomy, despite the pervasiveness of tapas, significant variability was evident in their preparation, and sometimes tapas could even be hard to find.


Day One


After being introduced to the Moroccan tea ceremony and the distinctive, refreshing Moroccan mint tea (essentially Chinese green tea leaves [gunpowder or zhu cha], a generous handful of fresh mint, boiling water and an extraordinary amount of sugar), we decided to venture out into Marrakech in search of lunch.

We decided to eat on the fringes of Djemâa el-Fna, the central square and undoubted focal point of Marrakchi daily life, where people meet and tourists get fleeced. This was where we were first introduced to the standard Moroccan meal of bread, salad and tajine.


Our salad was a melange of tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, beets and chickpeas, slathered in a creamy but mild mayonnaise. Surprisingly, this combination of vegetables, roots and legumes proved to be extremely refreshing, a feature characteristic of Moroccan salads, which are disarmingly simple, but always tasteful.


A tajinerefers to both the distinctive, conical earthenware container, and the resulting meal that is prepared in the container. Meats and vegetables are cooked in the tajine, resulting in a scaldingly hot stew that is replete with exotic spices and flavours. This one was a chicken tajine, redolent with cumin, preserved lemons and olives. Tajines are not meant to be subtle, and this was most definitely was not. Unabashedly flavourful, I very much enjoyed my first tajine, and looked forward to the many more I knew would come.


Djemaa el-Fna

Dinner would also be in Djemâa el-Fna, but this time we would be eating in the square itself, following in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in his Cook’s Tour. Of course, we’d already heard and read about the infamous sheep’s head dish, and were intrigued to see what else could be found for sale. The night bazaar of Djemâa el-Fna is the ultimate in street food, putting Newton Hawker Centre to shame with its lights, smells, sounds and atmosphere.

Orange juice vendors beckon to you, calling out their 3 Dh fresh orange juice, roughly $0.60 and the best orange juice I have ever tasted. Mounds of dried dates and figs, candied fruits and other unidentifiable tid-bits surround you and attract inquisitive glances. Spiced ginseng tea and curious Moroccan desserts can be found nearby. Djemâa el-Fna is a riotous experience, and we were there to soak it all in.

Snail manSnails

Some of the more curious stalls are the ones that sell snails. These are not the refined escargot of French cuisine, just a big pile of snails in a bowl full of suspicious liquid, periodically being stirred by the vendors, the snails’ shells clacking noisily against each other. I tried one, and can’t say I’m a fan – it tasted like what a snail would presumably taste like, slightly savoury, slightly rubbery. All in all I preferred the French interpretation.

Sheep's heads

Sheeps’ heads, we decided, were more palatable from a safe distance, and in consideration of our long trip ahead and interest in our continued well-being, we decided to leave this Moroccan delicacy to the locals.

One stall in particular was producing copious amounts of smoke and flame from its barbecue grill. Turns out they did sausages and other meaty products. We decided to sit down to sample their wares.

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Bread, with a tasty tomato dip to go along, as well as a dish of sausages. It’s best not to think about where the meat in those sausages came from, and to simply enjoy them. They were good when warm, but tasted a bit odd when they started cooling down, and the oil and fat that congealed around them as they cooled made them quite unappetising.

We were also provided a dish of mysterious meat, which could have been anything from kidneys to sausage stuffing and everything in between, but were in any event delicious and undoubtedly unhealthy.


Not completely satisfied with our meal, we wandered the square in search of new experiences, trying some bread stuffed with potatoes, boiled egg and dressed with oil; as well as harira, the local lentil and chickpea soup that came with dates. Satisfying and warming on a cold evening, the soup was popular among the locals.

Brochette stallBrochettes

Next, we came to a stall serving brochettes, kebab-like skewers of grilled meat and vegetables. Personally I’m not a great fan of kebabs and brochettes (though I do enjoy satay), and I thought we got ripped off on this last stall, but otherwise our dining experience in Djemâa el-Fna was a most rewarding one.

Day Two


Our second day in Morocco saw us travelling out of Marrakech, to spend the next three days and two nights in the eastbound wilderness of Ouarzarzate, Tinerhir and the Sahara desert. After an arduous bus ride, we managed to make a stop in Ouarzarzate for an over-priced lunch aimed at the captive market of tourists on the well-travelled route.

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Another variation of Moroccan salad, this time with cucumber, red and green lettuce, beet, peppers, tomatoes and chickpeas. No sauce, but the salad was similarly enjoyable, with the different textures and tastes playing off each other despite, or perhaps because, of its plainness.

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Another tajine (Moroccan cuisine is not well-known for its inventiveness), but this one was not as polished, it seemed dry and insipid, despite the addition of a tomato and some beans.

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Moroccan dessert takes the form of assorted candy and pastries. Coated with caramelised sugar and sesame seeds or filled with a coconut-nougat filling, Moroccan candy is well-suited to the national sweet tooth, but can be quite dry and does not rank highly as one of my favoured desserts.


Dinner in the Dadès Gorge was fairly unremarkable, merely more harira and another tajine, though the soup had been quite watered down and the tajine was uninspired.

Day Three

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What was more interesting was the first-hand look at Moroccan butchery, and a good reminder of just where the food ultimately comes from. Bisected carcasses and disembodied goats’ heads adorn the stalls of many butchers throughout Morocco. Watching the butchers saw through some of the carcasses with the help of a handsaw, I felt glad that I would never have to buy meat from Morocco. It’s not that I can’t deal with raw meat, nor am I ignorant of the fact that the meat we consume used to be a living, breathing animal, but the way the meat is laid out: the spines, limbs and tails splayed and displayed, makes it seem so much more visceral and unpleasant.

Day Four


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After spending the night out in the Sahara desert, we had a traditional Moroccan breakfast of round loaves of bread, consumed with simple accompaniments like butter, marmalade and olive oil. Interestingly, the butter we were served was pure white, very smooth and creamy, with little of the oleaginousness of normal butter. I was inclined to believe it was goat’s milk butter, but I was told it was normal cow’s butter, though that might have had something to do with my awkward French.


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Lunch involved another variation on the Moroccan salad, this time with tomato concassé, olives, lettuce, cucumbers and red onions. As always, it was deliciously refreshing, clean and simple.

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For a change, I decided to have a brochette, imagining a tasty skewer of grilled meat. Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed; the meat was dry and the portions were parsimonious. What few fries there were weren’t even crispy, and the rice was barely decent.


We decided to treat ourselves to a lavish dinner though, to celebrate our surviving the twelve-hour bus ride back to Marrakech. With the help of the hostel-owner, we were able to make a reservation at an upmarket but classic Moroccan restaurant, Le Kossour Essaoussan (Rue des Ksour, 3 Derb El Messaoudyenne). Amazingly, this restaurant was located in a dingy, barely-lit alleyway that looked like any one of the numerous dingy, barely-lit alleyways that make up the medina of Marrakech; hardly the venue one would expect to find a classy restaurant.

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The décor of the restaurant resembles an old-fashioned Moroccan riad, with water features, divans, plant life and soft lighting all designed to evoke a sense of harmony and tranquility. Folded napkins and pure-white tablecloths emphasised the exclusivity of the restaurant, and suggested Moroccan fine-dining in a more Occidental setting. Service was prompt and professional, despite our obvious youth and tourist-scruffiness.

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The 350 Dh ($70) prix fixe menu includes an aperitif, water, half-bottle of wine/cocktail, starter, main course and dessert; with generous portions in each course.

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Our starters were somewhat like Moroccan tapas: tomato confit, lentils, cauliflower, sliced courgettes, pumpkin purée – just enough to whet the appetite with a variety of flavours to prepare us for the main dishes.

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I had a lamb cous cous, which came stuffed to the brim with chickpeas, some carrots, and of course, the cous cous itself, which was light, fluffy, and incredibly filling. Although the individual semolina grains are negligible, finishing the entire dish of cous cous, with the chickpeas, braised lamb and carrots, was quite a task. But the dish itself was delicious, and the cous cous, despite being so filling, was never stodgy or starchy, but airy and pillowy.

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Dessert took the form of a sweet pastilla, a crispy, flaky filo-like pastry that encased tea-infused poached apples in a mild custard sauce. As I’m not a great fan of fruit-based desserts, I didn’t really enjoy this, but apple strudel aficionados would love it.

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We had a selection of Moroccan sweets and petit fours, most containing a variation of chocolates, grated coconut and nuts, but by this time we were all so full that we could barely manage more than one or two. Still, it was an eye-opening experience to have enjoyed true Moroccan cuisine at such a high level, in such lavish surroundings.

Day Five


Taking a day trip out of Marrakech, we travelled west to the coastal town of Essaouira, famed for its scenic backdrops (the site of Orson Welles’ Othello) and fresh seafood.

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It was the latter we had come for, as we were looking forward to a lunch of grilled fish by the shore. There are many such stalls prominently displaying the catches of the day, and allow you to choose which fish you wish to eat, priced by weight and cooked on the spot.

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After some haggling with the enthusiastic stall keepers, we sat down to have our meal.

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The prawns, cooked simply over a hot plate and seasoned with some salt and lemon juice, were bursting with flavour and freshness, their natural sweetness accentuated by the simplicity of their treatment.

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I tend not to pay much attention to seafood, which is probably why I’ve forgotten exactly what we ordered, though I believe one of the fish was a red snapper, and the other possibly a perch. These turned out quite well, just slightly toasted while the flesh underneath remained flaky and soft. The smokiness imparted by the fire was the only seasoning required; anything else would have detracted from the clean, piscine taste of the fish.

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Our last fish, unfortunately, was dry and overcooked, owing perhaps in part to its large size. Still, its freshness was able to mask the deficiency in texture, and in terms of taste there was little to complain about.

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Wandering around Essaouira, we discovered that it was market day, with piles of fresh strawberries and mint for sale. Surprisingly, fruits and herbs do not feature prominently in Moroccan cooking, despite their abundance.


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Returning to Marrakech, we had dinner once again in one of the restaurants that fringe Djemâa el-Fna. Chez Chegrouni apparently serves some of the best tajines in Marrakech, and I was particularly taken with the lamb and prune tajine. Served with onions, slow-cooked till they’ve achieved the sweetness of a French onion soup, the dulcet flavours of this tajine is emphasised by the prunes and tender lamb. The boiled eggs serve to add a dimension of texture and savouriness that offsets the overall sweetness of the dish, and I wolfed the whole thing down quite quickly.

Day Six

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Leaving Marrakech, we lost ourselves in the complex warren of souks and alleys that make up the medina of Fès, coming across a patisserie that made some amazing éclairs. Filled with a rich custard, they made the perfect afternoon snack as we explored the old city.

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