Return to Marrakesh

Having enjoyed the hospitality of the Marrakesh several years ago, we were looking forward to renewing our acquaintance with the Moroccan restaurant on Netanya’s promenade.

By
July 24, 2019 20:16
2 minute read.
Return to Marrakesh

Cafe Europa. (photo credit: ALEX SHEVSHENKO)

Having enjoyed the hospitality of the Marrakesh several years ago, we were looking forward to renewing our acquaintance with the Moroccan restaurant on Netanya’s promenade, named for the seaside town in the former French colony that became independent in 1956.
Walking into Marrakesh is like entering a huge tent that belongs to a very well-heeled potentate. The ceiling is covered in draped canvas to give the illusion of a tent. Around the edges there are trellis-work arches. The central pillar is covered in a sparkling mosaic while a wall of rocks suggests the Atlas Mountains, a feature of the North African country. The tables are decked in ruby-red tablecloths. The comfortable chairs are also upholstered in red, and the place makes no apologies for being completely over the top in its décor.
Taking care of our gastronomic needs was the owner, Motti Kavalou, whose siblings run Miriam’s Place, reviewed in this column recently. The first course was a selection of vegetable-based salads, all very fresh and livened with different spices, sauerkraut, two kinds of carrots, beetroot, aubergine, potato, cucumber, tomato and matbucha – a tomato and bell pepper dish whose name literally means “cooked salad.” (NIS 15).
My companion was in the mood for something less pedestrian and went overboard with stuffed spleen. This transpired to be a slice of a very large dark sausage filled with chopped liver. This was not the favorite Ashkenazi starter, but liver which had been cut into small dice and spiced with several spices, dominated by cumin. He declared the dish to be fantastic (NIS 38).
For our main course we decided to avoid the grilled meat and choose a stew-like dish instead. Anyone can throw a steak on the grill but to produce a casserole takes more investment of time and trouble.
My companion chose lamb tagine, so soft it was falling apart and spiced with a mixture which included cinnamon and mashia, a Persian spice blend that includes nutmeg, allspice, mace, chili powder and sumac (NIS 130).
My choice was chicken with black olives (NIS 70), also very tender and highly spiced, although perhaps olives without pits might have been a better choice. Plain white basmati rice accompanied both dishes.
Our desserts were very agreeable: a strawberry sorbet which was creamier than expected and orange jelly-like sweets made from watermelon rind.
“These are traditionally eaten on mufleta [pancake] during the [traditional North African] Maimouna post-Pesach celebrations,” Motti explained.
He also insisted we try the chocolate mousse cake – very rich and chocolatey – with raisins soaked in sweet orange syrup. (All desserts NIS 35.)
Only mint tea could end such a meal and it indeed made the perfect finale.

Marrakesh
David Hamelech 5, Netanya, 09-833-4797
Kashrut: Rabbanut Netanya
Sun-Thur: Noon-midnight
Fri: Noon-one hour before Shabbat
Sat: From one hour after Shabbat.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.


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