Advantages Lovely atmosphere, great views, international menu
Disadvantages Food a bit too cool and prices are high for Morocco
Arriving at 8 pm the sun was setting in the distance and we had a great view across the rooftops towards the Koutoubia mosque. My sister Aileen identified that it was an even better view once the sun had actually gone and all the scruffy rooftops and satellite dishes were hidden by the darkness whilst the minaret was attractively floodlit. We could look down on the ground floor orange trees and the diners below.Our table wasn't really a table – it was more a case of 'our sofas' and 'our round coffee table'. It did look like it would be more at home in a nightclub than a restaurant but it scored well on novelty value. At the table next two us an irritating older man shouted into his mobile phone whilst his cute younger male companion tapped away on his Blackberry – and they say that romance is dead! We were happy when the waiter had to move them on to make way for three young women amusingly dressed in ludicrous flowery maxi-dresses which might be the height of fashion but don't half look stupid.
No formal dining can be possible when you've been seated at two big curved grey rattan sofas. You can't really lean back too far and eating off a table that's at the same height as the seating is a bit too much like having dinner on the sofa in front of the telly at home. But the lighting was atmospheric, the glass table was very funky with encased patterns trapped inside the glass which made someone comment that they expected to find a goldfish if they looked hard enough and the music was almost loud enough for us to ignore Mr Big and his mobile phone. I did giggle when they stopped the music for the call to prayer since I figured that Allah probably likes Coldplay as little as I do. The music was relaxed, multi-country and multi-era with plenty of old Bob Marley songs creeping in amongst the 80s and 90s classics. Any Italian that doesn't play 'Volare' at least once every hour can be defined as 'classy'.
The starters were generous and we'd been wise to share. The bruschetta came with three slices of bread but Aileen was a bit disappointed that it was mostly cubed tomato and what she described as 'cheap Danish mozzarella'. I'm not too sure what cheese is doing on a bruschetta to start with, no matter what its national origins, but it did seem weird that the cheapie restaurant round the corner could run to real mozzarella for it's Caprese salad but not the allegedly authentically posh Italian place.Our salads were fabulous with a large square plate piled high with a mix of different delights including sliced beef tomatoes, minced black olives, marinated broad beans, aubergine dip, cubed beetroot that looked a bit like school dinner beetroot, and roasted red peppers. Out of keeping with the rest of the restaurants we visited in Morocco, the bread provided was French-style baguette rather than soft puffy flat bread.
All of the main courses were served a bit on the cold side. I had a forkful of Joyce's creamed potato and would probably have sent it back if I'd been her. Tony said his chicken wasn't overly warm either and suggested that it had probably been brought all the way up from the ground floor kitchen and cooled on the way. I can't help but think that restaurants solved problems like this many years ago (heat the plates – easy peasy) and they should have known better. My penne Arabiatta was nowhere close to spicy enough to be worthy of the name and the large quantity didn't really make up for the lack of oomph in the sauce. Half way through the dish I'd really had enough and only greed (and the price) got me through the dish. Joyce's lamb portion was enormous. I can't say too much since I don't eat meat and don't understand the cuts but there looked to be about 3 little chops as well as a big chunk of meat. Tony's chicken by contrast was a bit on the mean side although they compensated with a pile of chips of Atlas mountain-like proportions.The Casablanca beers were served good and cold and fortunately we were left to pour them ourselves. Most Moroccan waiting staff seem to have learned their beer pouring skills at the Amsterdam school of 'big heads' and it's frustrating to have to wait 10 minutes for the froth to settle before you can drink. The Syrah was apparently pretty good and rather smooth but I'm not a red wine drinker. We'd considered getting a bottle of white but been scared off by the really poor white we'd had at our first riad earlier in the week.
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