Tuesday, August 30, 2011

La Porte du Monde

We have just come back from a super exciting holiday in Morocco - a trip full of surprises and unexpected twists and turns... One thing we could never have expected was just how touristy Marrakech - the city we started our holiday off in - was going to be! We actually found navigating the place to be quite stressful due to eager busy bodies telling us we were walking the wrong way, trying to sell us something or take us somewhere they thought we would in completely the opposite direction.

So after a ridiculously relaxing afternoon spent sipping mint tea by the most perfect river on a day trip out of the city to the Cascades d'Ouzoud we needed to find a quiet and peaceful late-lunch spot to continue our relaxation.

Bailey remembered having spotted a lovely terrace restaurant called La Porte du Monde down a relatively calm street near the Bahia Palace.

We had a quick browse of the menu before going inside and the food options and prices seemed good and the place seemed very well put together.

Inside we were taken by our waiter through the tastefully decorated restaurant to a lovely roof terrace which was filled with colourful furniture and nice pot plants - the perfect place to enjoy the late-afternoon sun. As it was really late for lunch but too early for dinner the terrace was super quiet and by the end of our meal we had the place to ourselves!

We were impressed first of all by the friendly service which was a pleasant surprise at this point in our holiday in which we had experienced some pretty shoddy service. Our waiter was an absolutely lovely man - very attentive yet relaxed. He was super quick bringing us our drinks and some yummy bread and olives.

The food was also really delicious. I ordered a vegetable cous cous which was really light and fluffy with tasty vegetables and a really yummy oniony relish / marmalade on top which added some lovely sweetness and great flavour to the dish. The cous cous was really filling too which is great for a holiday when you're not too sure where your next meal is coming from.

My only regret: I wish I had tried out on of the many amazing sounding veggie pastillas they had on the menu. At the time I wasn't really sure what pastillas were, but after seeing the pastilla pastry being handmade in the markets - spread super thin over a hot plate (or hot ball as was the case in a Fez market) then layered with fillings I know they would have been delicious and I didn't see a veggie pastilla on a menu again for the rest of the holiday.

Bailey ordered the chicken and preserved lemon tajine which he was completely enamoured with. After his first bite he said "That is one of the best sauces I've ever had" - rich, salty, savoury with a lemon tang and a slight sweetness. He also said "This sauce tastes like a posh chicken pot noodle. In a good way." His only complaint was that there wasn't much chicken on the bone but we had been warned about "scrawny chickens" by our guide book. As we had been greedy and already eaten all our bread before our dinner even arrived, I gave Bailey some of my cous cous to finish off his sauce with and that was an amazing combo.

So we would definitely recommend La Porte du Monde to anyone razzing by Marrakech. We thought it was ace that the staff were nice to us and we really felt like this was the first meal we'd been that wasn't a tourist trap.

It was also a great budget option as our lunch including bread, olives and drinks cost us 150 Dirhams which is about £12. On our way out we noticed that they had a second cafĂ© type place of the same name about two doors up the road that did a set menu for 60 Dirhams which is one of the cheapest menus we saw in the whole of Morocco. Great stuff.

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