An original and brave new venture is about to open in the Fez Medina - a Thai restaurant and fashion boutique. The creative vision behind the bold combination is Thai fashion designer and chef Anan Sorsutham. Last night Fez locals got a taste of what is to come
|Designer and chef Anan Sorsutham, in front of a photo of his family's rice farm|
Anan Sorsutham first visited Fez two years ago, to take part in Fez Fashion Day. When he returned the following year, "I made dinner for a group of friends, and they said to me, 'why don't you open a restaurant'? So I thought, 'why not?' My two passions are fashion design and cooking."
The designer bought a dar just off the Ta'laa K'bira, and set to work. "It's taken about a year and a half," he says. Now the renovation is complete, and the restaurant and boutique Moi Anan Boutique Thai Restaurant will open in about 10 days' time.
Last night a group of Fez locals were invited to see the impressive extent of Anan's creativity, with a fashion show of his designs. The beautiful Thai silks and other luxurious fabrics had been crafted into exquisitely tailored garments. The show was accompanied by the music of the Hamadcha Sufi group.
Afterwards, the crowd moved down to the new restaurant. On the ground floor is an up-market boutique, while the main eating area is on the floor above. The terrace has lots of plants and tables, and will be wonderful on warm evenings. The interior is entirely painted in neutral grey; a colour that is easy on the eye and provides a stylish backdrop to the garments and diners.
The main room in the restaurant will have several small tables, while there are two intimate dining spaces for groups.
Anan grew up in Thailand's north-east, and his parents were rice farmers - a photograph of their farm adorns the main dining room - so he was aware of the importance of food from an early age. "I am not going to cook as if I am in a restaurant," he says. "My idea is that I open my house to guests."
The interaction between nature and humanity is his main inspiration. "There is a Thai fairytale, where a tree in Himmapan forest in which fruits grow in the shape of a human body but those fruits have no soul," he says.
He is attempting to import several key ingredients, such as galangal and dried mushrooms from Thailand, but one of the biggest difficulties has been dealing with the vagaries of Moroccan customs, who often hold up packages for a considerable time.
|One of the whimsical chairs in the main dining room|
|Two intimate dining spaces available to groups|
|Anan, left, cooks up a storm with the help of a Thai student|
Last night's meal consisted of a series of chicken and vegetable dishes, with distinctive and authentic Thai flavours that resemble what you would find in a traditional Thai home, or on the street, rather than the homogenised version of Thai food known in restaurants worldwide. Anan was ably assisted by some Thai students who study Arabic at a university in Fez.
The verdict? The food was absolutely delicious, and the prospects are promising for the Moi Anan restaurant - which is likely to fast become a Fez favourite.
Moi Anan Boutique Thai Restaurant can be found at 30 Zkak El Ma, Fez Medina. Phone: 053 563 57 13 www.moianan.com