Monday, October 04, 2021

Favourite Fez Restaurants Reopen

Last weekend the much loved restaurants, Fez Cafe and The Ruined Garden, reopened for the first time since March 2020 

Locals and visitors turned out to celebrate. The garden section of Fez Cafe restaurant was fully booked, and it was clear to see enjoyment and relief that the social life of the city is slowly returning to a semblance of normal. 

"It's a really happy time," said one of the owners, Paul Biehn. "I'm working, and it's exciting and creative. Plus, finally, I am meeting many new people, and seeing old friends." The hotel on the same site, Jardin des Biehn, has also reopened. 

"For everybody it has been a struggle", said Paul. "Plus my father left us in May last year."

Paul's late father, the renowned collector and author, Michel Biehn, was a significant presence at Fez Cafe, and could usually be seen welcoming guests and dining there. Paul's mother, Catherine, continues the family tradition. 

"I am very happy to keep this place alive," said Paul. "To make it more my own somehow; because my father was a very big personality. But it's not about me, it's about this place. I love to do this job: to take care of this place, because it's so big and complex and there is no end. It's kind of fun." 

A new development is that Paul is now working in the kitchen. "I love desserts, and also I try to add more vegetarian dishes...Our menu is always evolving."  

Both Fez Cafe and The Ruined Garden are set in beautiful gardens, which have become more luxuriant while the doors have been closed to the public. 

The Ruined Garden, behind Riad Idrissy in Sidi Ahmed Chaoui, is again offering its Moroccan menu with a contemporary twist, with drinks including fresh pomegranate juice. The staff greeted me enthusiastically, pleased to see a familiar face after such a long period of inactivity. "It feels good to be back," said one of the waiters. And indeed it did. 

Fez Cafe is open daily for lunch at 1.30 pm and dinner at 6.30 pm. (Current curfew is at 11 pm.)
Location: 13 Akbat Sbaa, Douh, Fez Medina.  
Reservations: +212 (0) 535 635 031 or +212 (0)6 62 59 90 54. Riad +212 (0)6 64 64 76 79. 

The Ruined Garden is open daily for lunch from 1 pm, drinks from 5 pm and dinner from 6 pm. 
Location: Behind Riad Idrissy, in Sidi Ahmed Chaoui, Fez Medina. 
Reservations: +212 (0)643 230 045   

Photography and story: Suzanna Clarke


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