I wish we'd found it sooner
On our last day in Marrakech we consulted the guidebooks for something new to do. My husband and I have been twice before and had already worked our way through most of the more obvious tourist attractions but we'd never been to the Bahia Palace in the south of the city. With guidebook in hand I managed to get us and my sister Aileen and her girlfriend Joyce there without getting lost and along the route I spotted signs for a vegetarian and vegan cafe called Earth Cafe. As a fishitarian I'd been getting pretty bored with the food on offer for non-meat eaters which leans very heavily on carrots and potatoes and gets dull very quickly so I was keen to try it on the way back.
With the palace appropriately visited (highly recommended) and all the other attractions in the area closed for lunch we decided to go and see if we could find the cafe. It was even listed in our guidebook – probably because it's the first and only veggie/vegan restaurant in Marrakech and quite possibly the entire country. The cafe is located on a side alley off the Rue Riad Zitoun Kdim which runs south easterly from the south eastern corner of Jemaa el Fna square. Look out for the signs and when you finally see a big arrow suspended above the street, you're in the right place. Head down the alley and there it is.
Let's do the Timewarp again......
I was immediately transported back to my sister's student days of hanging out at the Reading Wimmin's centre – this place is just so '1980s wholesome'. If it were not for the total absence of raffia mats and macramé wall hangings it would have been like stepping into a time warp. I think the retro look was probably entirely unintentional but it made me smile none the less.The ground floor has a tiny courtyard stuffed with scruffy looking chairs and tables with a couple of low ceilinged rooms off the courtyard. Up the stairs everything is painted in bright garish colours with deep orange walls contrasting pleasantly with deep blue doorways and not so pleasantly with a deep purple door to the toilet. The roof is covered with thick clear plastic to protect diners from the elements but I'd hope that can be retracted in the summer as it was already pretty warm in early April.
The menu is available in English and French and is not easy to read since it's written on mirrors on the wall. They keep it pretty simple with four or 5 vegetarian dishes and a similar number of vegan options. I'm sure though that if you wanted the vegetarian dishes 'veganised' they'd be happy to take out the cheese and eggs where appropriate because everything is cooked fresh from scratch. They also make fresh juices but if carrot and beetroot aren't your thing, they aren't so obsessive as to deny you a Coke or Diet Coke if that's what you fancy.
A whole wall of things I can eat and want to eat
We ordered three glasses of 'carrot, ginger and orange' juice and my brave sister went for the 'beetroot and something or other' juice. The colours were stunning with the 'carrot plus' coming out a deep mango orange in colour and the beetroot juice looking exactly as you'd imagine it would.