Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scorpion House Opens in Moulay Idriss

One of the great pleasures of visiting Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is to admire the spectacular view from the hill above the sacred town. Seen from on high, it appears like a jewel of an Islamic city and the Roman ruins of Volubilis can be glimpsed on the plain beyond. However, usually travellers make only a brief stop in the town, because apart from the brochette and tagine stalls near the main square, there are few places to eat. And, until now, there was nowhere that combined the panoramic vista with good food and stylish surrounds. Now, that has all changed.

One of the most stunning views in Morocco

Recently, Mike Richardson - formerly of London’s prestigious The Ivy restaurant and the proprietor of the successful Cafe Clock in Fez - has opened Scorpion House.

Decorated in the eclectic souk-meets-designer-chic style that is likely to make it a favourite of magazine photographers, international and Moroccan visitors as well as locals, Scorpion House is situated an easy climb up the hill from the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss. (Turn left and follow the signs.)

The upper terrace is a perfect spot for parties or weddings

The Dar Akrab restaurant and cafe at Scorpion House offers modern Moroccan flavours with some traditional favourites. “It very much recognises where we are in the world,” says Richardson. “Everything is sourced locally - from our garden or from the souk.”

The menu was designed in conjunction with Robert Johnstone, who worked at the Wolsey and The Ivy in London with Richardson. Much of it is cooked over charcoal on a traditional Shawaya (barbeque) and they even make their own barbeque sauce with roasted red peppers and tomatoes. Traditional fare includes cous-cous royale – a mouth watering mix of chicken, caramelised onions, raisons and almonds – and there is a daily tagine special.

Just one of the interesting and inviting interior spaces

Lots of private nooks and crannies

The Scorpion House staff are well trained and very friendly
You can also get sandwiches bursting with marinated meats, home-cut chips, sumptuous salads and desserts like roasted fruit salad, served with frozen local yoghurt or Moroccan pastries.

“Eventually we are going to make our own “mocktails”, non-alcoholic cocktails", says Richardson.

Any one of the three terraces at Scorpion House is just the place to relax at lunch or revel in a sunset dinner, with the backdrop of that extraordinary view.

Scorpion House is a valuable addition to Moulay Idriss and a sheer delight for visitors


Click on image to enlarge


Scorpion House - Dar Akrab
54 Drouj El Hafa, Moulay Idriss Zerhoun
Telephone: +212 (0) 535 54 47 29
Note: The menu will be limited during Ramadan

Stay overnight in Moulay Idriss at Dar Zerhoune. Using Moulay Idriss as a base for visiting Volubilis is recommended. Book in advance on +212 (0)618108175.

Visit Dar Zerhoune at or book through Fez Riads

Photographs: Suzanna Clarke (Click all images to enlarge)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Last september we were travelling from tetouane to meknes, when we decided to make a stop at moulay idriss for a lunch. We read the article about the scorpion house and we decided it was worth it, to make a detour. After following the signs through the labyrinth of houses we finally arrived at the front door. We ringed several times, but nobody openend, this was strange because we saw sombody's arm leaning over the balconny. We decided to use the phone number written on the blog and again nobody answered, while we heard the phone ringing.

On the door was written open from sunrise to sundown! very disappointing. I'm curious about the explanation.

I'm curious about the explanation