Yes, it’s still Marrakech and yes, it’s Saturday. FOOD DAY. Look at this. Amanjena’s beetroot tartar ‘sandwich’. Atop is puffed quinoa and a-below is mashed avocado. The pink onion atop, looling rather like an elegant lady’s fascinator at Ascot or Chantilly, is the finishing touch and as the image shows, the whole is somewhat related, style-wise, to equally divine presentations by Massimo Bottura at Robb Report Hong Kong x MGM Macau Cotai’s culinary gathering last year.
Eating outside was really special. The artwork above was lunch poolside at Amanjena. Big chunks of focaccia and slices of brown sourdough were presented in a green linen-lined basket. The tiled table also sported a 30cm-high cactus in a terracotta pot. There were glasses of chilled Perle Rose de Mogador, a reminder that Morocco does have extremely good wines. In ten day, indeed, Girlahead only drank local and it was all good.
Morocco has so much outstanding produce, as can be seen wandering narrow streets in the medina, old town, of the bigger cities. It must also have great flour as with only one exception wherever, whenever, whatever time of day the breads were outstanding. Pride of honour, admittedly, went to Pierre Hermé’s pastries at La Mamounia. Taste even a small mouthful of his pistachio-enhanced petits pains au chocolat and you have a taste of heaven… but, generally, designer breads and breakfast rolls were up to French standards.
No mere hint of Moroccan food should miss its tajines. Basically, take a stew and seerve it in a low ceramic bowl which has a matching lid shaped like a Chinese coolie hat. After trying beef and lamb alternatives, Girlahead came to the conclusion her favourite by far was chicken tajine with preserved lemon, and Moroccan salads on the side. Now a Moroccan salad is more akin to levantine hommus than a western salad. It’s roughly mashed, and spiced. There might be a sweet potato mash, a zucchini mash. Even a beetroot mash. The record was an order for salad that resulted in eight Bernardaud bowls each holding a different mash. That was at La Mamounia. Watch this space.