Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Fez Food: restaurant news


This week some of the best restaurants and cafes in Fez are re-opening after the summer break, while others have kept their doors open. There are also exciting new places to experience

Australian chef, Analiese Gregory, offers a creative approach at Resto 7 

Resto 7 

On Monday night the The View From Fez was fortunate to attend a delicious dinner at Resto 7, prepared by their new chef in residence from Sydney, Australia, Analiese Gregory. The four course meal showed her creative flair using locally sourced ingredients.The menu will change depending on what is fresh in the souq.

Dinner featured an entreé of sardines escabeche with sun blushed tomato and a tomato basil consumme and oven dried black olives, accompanied by tomato aoli with deep fried sardine bones. The main was roast pigeon with an amlou sauce, barley semolina, purslane and end of summer greens, scattered with puffed wild rice and a carrot puree. This was followed by fig leaf panna cotta with fresh figs and milk and honey granita, then rose and ras al hanaout mashmallow.

"My cooking is French influenced with some Chinese, due to my grandmother's cooking. And the pastry kitchen has always been my first love," says Analiese.

Over the past 15 years, she has worked at prestigious restaurants such as the Ledbury in London with Brett Graham, Le Meurice in Paris with Yannick Alleno and most recently at Quay in Sydney with Peter Gilmore.

You can try Analiese Gregory's fare from now until the end of October at Resto 7.

Resto 7 is located at 7 Zkak Rouan, 30200 Fez Medina. Contact: + 212 (0) 535 638924 
or reservationsat7@gmail.com   More info: CLICK HERE

Fez Café


Set in the lovely grounds of Jardin des Biehn, Fez Café has just re-opened. Manager Paul Biehn says, "During the break, we have updated the kitchen a lot; it is now much more professional."

Chef  Hicham Mousid continues to head the kitchen, as he has for the past five years. Previously he worked for a decade at Villa Mandarine in Rabat.

Paul says that this summer's Fez Café menu includes a starter of avocado and calamari tart, perfumed with preserved lemon and coriander. Mains include sea bass pavé with wild rice, as well as a traditional dish from Marrakesh, veal tanjier with red onions and spices. An example of their dessert menu is peach salad with saffron and lemon juice.

Fez Cafe is located at 13, Akbat Sbaa, Douh 30100, Fez Medina. Contact: +212(0)664 647 679 or contact@jardindesbiehn.com   More info: CLICK HERE

Dar Roumana


Chef Vincent Bonnin continues his excellent run at Dar Roumana, while his wife Vanessa Bonnin manages the place, which also offers accommodation. It's located near Bab Guissa, and like a number of the top restaurants, they offer a free porter to escort you to and from your residence.

Vincent has worked for Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK, The Gordelton Mill with Toby Hill and Fleur de Sel with Michel Perraud. In 2005, he worked for legendary French chef Paul Bocuse's right hand man, Philippe Mouchel, at The Brasserie in Melbourne, Australia before moving on to be head chef at several Australian restaurants. After relocating to Fez, he worked at the Majestic in the Ville Nouvelle.

The couple have just returned from a break in the United States. "We have been garnering new inspiration from the amazing restaurants in New York that we explored during our travels," says Vanessa.

While the menu naturally changes according to the freshest produce available, it may feature dishes such as a starter of smoked duck salad with fresh figs and pain d'epice, a main of char-grilled butterflied poussin marinated in date molasses with pomegranate seeds. A dessert may be poached pear with lemon and star anise, duet of orange and chocolate Sauce with roasted pistachios.

Dar Roumana is located at 30 Derb el Amer, Zkak Roumane, Fes Medina. 
Contact: +212 535 74 16 37  or +212 660 29 04 04 (mobile) or info@darroumana.com
More info: CLICK HERE


The Ruined Garden


Run by Robert Johnson and Sue Bail, The Ruined Garden is a firm favourite for casual lunch or evening dining. Tables and chairs are set among foliage, in the ruins of an ancient house in the grounds of the hotel Riad Idrissy.

The chef is Najia El Amrani. Once she was the housekeeper for the riad's former owners, but she now works with Robert creating the dishes for the restaurant. "Although most Moroccan women can cook, we were very lucky to find someone who was prepared to be innovative," Robert says.

The menu style of Ruined Garden is an eclectic fusion of Moroccan and Western flavours, which focuses mostly on seasonal, locally sourced produce. The hand written daily menu includes items like a starter of smoked aubegine, goat and cow cheese paté with fresh figs, a main of barbecued sardines with cold cooked Moroccan salads and a dessert of plain chocolate and espresso mousse.

The Ruined Garden is located at Sidi Ahmed Chaoui, Siaj, Fez. Contact: +212 (0) 649 19 14 10

More info: CLICK HERE

Mezzanine


After being extensively revamped with the help of new manager Pippa Smith, Mezzanine has re-opened. It's in a pleasant location opposite the Jnan Sbil gardens, which can be seen from the roof terrace. This bar/cafe/restaurant has benefited from an updated and much lighter colour interior, with taupe tadelkt walls, red leather cushions inside and comfortable sofas on the terrace.

Their new tapas menu features brioutes of seafood and minced beef, roquefort and walnut. There is also tabbouleh salad, salad nicoise and ceasar salad, as well as standards like hamburger and fries. For dessert there is apple crumble with vanilla ice cream or tart au citron.

Mezzanine is located at 17 Kasbat Chams, Fez. Contact: +212 (0) 611 07 83 36  or mezfez@gmail.com

More info: CLICK HERE


Hotel Sahrai


The newly opened Hotel Sahrai, in the road behind Borj Fez mall, has a wonderful view over the Fez medina. The colonnaded verandah is an excellent place to sit and enjoy a drink, or to sample their snack menu.

They have two formal restaurants - Relais de Paris which features typical French dishes such as the starter salade gourmande au foie gras, magret fumé et gésiers de canard and the main filet de Saint-Pierre, écrasé de pomme de terre à l’huile d’olive, with tarte aux fruits rouges being one of the desserts. There is also a Moroccan restaurant, Amaraz, which has the usual standards such as beef and prune tagine and a dessert of milk and grilled almond pastilla.

Hotel Sahrai is located at Bab Lghoul, Dhar El Mehraz, 30 000, Fez. Contact: +212 (0) 535 94 03 32 or reservations@hotelsahrai.com

More info:CLICK HERE

Cafe Clock


Owned by Mike Richardson, the Cafe Clock is much more than just a cafe - it's also a vibrant cultural hub where art exhibitions, concerts, films and workshops are held. It's a lively meeting place for both travellers and local Moroccans, and a cooking school. In fact the concept has been so successful, Mike has recently opened a new Cafe Clock in Marrakech.

Opposite the famous Medersa Bou Inania, a favourite Fez tourist destination, Cafe Clock is a great place to head for breakfast, lunch or a refreshing soft drink or cup of tea. They also make excellent coffee.

The menu lists items like aubergine and goats cheese quiche with ras al hanout potatoes, grilled chicken and citrus salad, and their famous Clock camel burger with Taza ketchup, salad and fries.

Cafe Clock is located at 7 Derb El Magana, (off the Ta'laa Sghira), 30000 Fez. 
Contact: +212 (0) 535 63 78 55 or fez@cafeclock.com

More info CLICK HERE

Cafe 44


Owned and managed by Zahra, the menu of Cafe 44 offers French style breakfasts - brunch including eggs and yoghurt - and a variety of light meals. You can choose from savoury dishes such as vegetable tart with salad; mixed salads and pastas including one with eggplant and crushed almonds. There are a variety of delicious fresh juices.

They have a two level terrace, and it's a low key and relaxing place to head for tea or coffee, lunch or a snack.

Cafe 44 is located Derb Bensalam, Talaa Kbira, Fez Medina. 
Contact: 06 34 70 75 13 or le44fes@gmail.com
More info: CLICK HERE

Coming soon...  Maison Moi Anan


Thai fashion designer Moi Anan is set to open the first Thai restaurant in the Fez Medina. Work is progressing on the interior and it is planned to open later this year, in combination with a boutique selling his designs. Thai flavours will be a welcome addition to increasing the diversity of food available in the Medina.

For more info on Moi Anan CLICK HERE

Story: Suzanna Clarke

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Jazz in Tangier and Salsa in Marrakech

September is a great month for music lovers with two major events taking place. Marrakech kicks off the 7th Annual World Salsa Congress from September 4th to the 8th, while Tangier chips in with the Tanjazz Festival from 10th to the 14th of September

In Marrakech, teachers and choreographers will lead Latin dance workshops and international DJs will mix Latino sounds as the Palmeraie resort hosts the 7th Annual World Salsa Congress.

Salsa in Marrakech

The event has gained international recognition and promises to be even richer and more eclectic than in previous years, with more than 2,000 participants and over 100 artists from all over the world: USA, Cuba, France, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Norway and Japan.

The program includes show parties, dance parties, pool parties and workshops every day. So if you are in the mood for a taste of salsa, merengue, bachata, kizomba or reggae, then Marrakech is the place to be.


The Tanjazz festival includes performances by artists from diverse backgrounds on stage at the Palais des Institutions Italiennes, squares, local gardens and other venues. There will also be an "invasion" of the streets and city squares by marching bands.

Programme
Wednesday 10 September 2014
21h00 Ogun Afrobeat
20h00 Dario Pinelli & BinarioSwing
22h00 Pablo Martin Quartet
23h30 Philipp Jagschitz Trio
22h15 Craig Sutton

Thursday 11 September 2014
19h00 Tahar Tag'L
21h00 Color Out
20h00 Circular Time
22h00 Grzegorz Karnas Trio
23h30 AghaRTA Band
22h15 Craig Sutton
00h15 Craig Sutton
00h00 One O'clock Jump Septet
Count Basie tribute

Friday 12 September 2014
In the street BMCI Ville Scene
19h00 Tahar Tag'L
21h00 Trance Mission
BMCI Palais Scene Renault Scene TANJAzz Club TANJAzz Pub Bistro des artistes
20h00 Cécile McLorin Salvant
23h00 Drew Davies
Rhythm Combo
Louis Jordan tribute
00h30 Color Out
22h00 Olinka Mitroshina George Gershwin tribute
00h00 Sylvia Howard & The Black Label Swingtet
Duke Ellington tribute
01h30 Jam Sessions
22h15 Craig Sutton
00h15 Craig Sutton
23h30 AB Road Quintet Beatles tribute

Saturday 13 September 2014
In the street BMCI Ville Scene
19h00 Tahar Tag'L
21h00 Mallal
BMCI Palais Scene Renault Scene TANJAzz Club TANJAzz Pub Bistro des artistes
20h00 Buika
23h00 Lillian Boutté & Satchmo Gumbo Louis Armstrong tribute
00h30 Smoky Joe Combo
Cab Calloway tribute
22h00 Olinka Mitroshina
Nina Simone tribute
00h00 AB Road Quintet Beatles tribute
01h30 Jam Sessions
22h15 Craig Sutton
00h15 Craig Sutton
22h30 One O'clock Jump Septet
Count Basie tribute
01h00 Ogun Afrobeat

Sunday 14 September 2014
21h00 Gnawa Express
BMCI Palais Scene Renault Scene TANJAzz Club TANJAzz Pub Bistro des artistes
Children's TANJAzz :
14h30 Tahar Tag'L
15h00 Les Kourtes Pat'
16h00 Tahar Tag'L
20h00 Sylvia Howard & The Black Label Swingtet
Duke Ellington tribute
22h00 Smoky Joe Combo
Cab Calloway tribute
00h00 Jam Sessions


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Boom Times in Essaouira ~ The Town is "Sold Out!"


The delightful seaside town of Essaouira is experiencing a tourism boom like never before. Much to the surprise of local tourism authorities it reached occupancy rates of 100%

Hotel properties have experienced an occupancy rate of nearly 100% during the month of August. According to the Regional Tourism Council, more than 40% of the tourists were Moroccans.

With its tropical climate and the regular wind that is ideal for surfers, Essaouira remains one of the most popular destinations in Morocco. However, this year was special. During the month of August, the city was sold out. As well as domestic tourists, international visitors included French, English, Germans, Italians and Spaniards.


Essaouira recorded an occupancy rate for all accommodation facilities ranging from 90 to 100%. In fact, until last week, activity was still at its peak and is only expected to slow down from September the 1st.

During the first half of 2014, the city experienced an increase of 8% of its business as compared to the same period in 2013, going from 211,156 to 228,028 overnight stays. Arrivals were up 11%.

Tourism establishments in Essaouira recorded increases in overnight stays led by the Spanish market, which experienced a 18% increase. Italian tourists were placed second, with an increase of 16%. The English and German markets respectively recorded an evolution of 13% and 12%. Surprisingly, French tourists lagged behind, with their increase limited to only 4%.

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