A devastating fire has swept through a well known restaurant in Fez, resulting in total destruction. The fire began last Saturday night at 10.40pm and by 2am on Sunday Restaurant Al Firdaous, at Bab Guissa, was a smouldering ruin
|Said Lebbar surveys the damage|
The restaurant was located in a prominent position close to the prestigious Palais Jamais hotel.
The cause of the fire is not known. No one was in the restaurant at the time, except two guardians.
The interior of Restaurant Al Firdaous was fitted out with carved cedar wood, antiques, numerous carpets and silverware, which were consumed in the blaze. Initially one fire engine attended, and was joined by two more when the scope of the fire was realised. Mr Lebbar says that insurance is unlikely to cover the extent of the losses.
|A scene of absolute chaos|
Restaurant Al Firdous measures 300 square metres and had shared its kitchen and toilets with an adjoining restaurant wing of 600 square metres, also owned by Mr Lebbar. While the eating section of this area is still intact, it is now also out of commission.
Mr Lebbar was a senator in the Moroccan government from 1997 to 2006 and Vice President of the Finance Commission.
"We have had many dignitaries and heads of state eating in our restaurant over the years, as well as tour groups," said Mr Lebbar.
|The undamaged section of the restaurant|
On the wall of the surviving restaurant wing is a photograph of King Mohammed VI eating dinner at the establishment, and in a guest book are the signatures of importants guests ranging from the daughter of the King of Saudi Arabia, to the Prime Minister of Japan, to a princess from Holland and numerous European and Middle Eastern politicians. In the 1990s, the restaurant received an international award for gastronomy from a tourist and hotel industry association.
With the restaurant gone, Mr Lebbar said he and his wife will have to rely on income from their guesthouse, Palais Al Firdaous.