Friday, August 15, 2008

Fes et Gestes: new tea garden in Ziat

Fes et Gestes is just perfect for summer lunches. Helen Ranger investigates ...

Cecile Houizot-Nanot has done it again. First she organised those wonderful Sunday afternoon concerts at the Palais Mokri (that sadly are no longer); now she's opened a delightful tea garden in Ziat. And with the plethora of guesthouses in the Ziat area, some long-established and some new, this is very welcome.

The house is somewhat surprising - a French colonial design, with large windows opening onto the garden, but with Moroccan touches such as zellij and Iraqi glass. It was occupied for some 27 years by Sister Cathy, an English nun and midwife, who sadly died a few months ago. The garden is very pretty, with a central fountain much enjoyed by little Louis-Xavier, Cecile's son. Cultural events are planned such as painting and sculpture exhibitions, afternoon tales and evening concerts.

The name intrigued us ... it's a play on words, in French. If you know someone's faits et gestes, it means that you really know what makes them tick. So here is Fez ... et Gestes.

There's a wide range of fruit juices, teas and coffees at Dh15 or Dh18 - we sampled the house special coffee, delightfully spiced, and rooibos tea (most dear to Helen Ranger's heart) flavoured with lime blossoms and mint. Lunch is also available at Dh90, including water and tea or coffee. It's a hearty meal of a wide range of Moroccan salads, a tagine and dessert. It's possible just to have one or two courses.

Fes et Gestes can be found at 39 Arsat El Hamoumi in Ziat (see the map on the website), phone 035 63 85 32. It's open every day except Wednesdays from 09h00 to, well, it says 19h00, but Cecile says that sometimes people stay til 20h30.


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