Café Review – Eat And Drink

Amanda Nicolle – Sunday Star Times (2009)

The Marrakech Café is …  a gem. I had heard a lot about the food and, with a penchant for anything Moroccan, it was a perfect choice for a grim Wellington day. The service was refreshing and quaint – not slick and polished like some city cousins but almost better for its honesty and authenticity. The young man was knowledgeable and efficient.

We chose a starter of hummus, which was modestly described as smooth chickpea dip with Moroccan spices and olive oil served with bread. What arrived was the most divinely balanced and deliciously smooth combination of textures and flavours, with a flat bread that was almost roti-like in appearance and was a perfect foil for the dips. I was in heaven.

And it got better. It was difficult to choose from this full and authentic menu featuring the traditional Moroccan genres of tagine, shasliks/kebabs, varieties of couscous and then others, including some unconventional options …

Our mains were faultless – the maftoul (beef mince hand-rolled Moroccan cigars in hot, crispy pastry, with raisins, rice and almonds) was absolutely divine. The blackboard special, the lahem bel barkouk …  was an impossibly moist and gelatinous slowly cooked lamb shank with prunes, almonds and sesame seeds served in a tagine with couscous. It was about as good as food on a plate can get. Marrakech Café is a find – a memorable eating experience and  well worth a visit.