For our last night in Marrakech, we take our wonderful Riad owners advice and have booked a table at Yacout. We were even lucky to get a reservation with only a few days notice .... This is where anyone-who-is-anyone must dine while in Marrakech, well so we hear. Having played host to a string of celebrities, royalty and presidents from all over the world. We head down to the Kasbah gate in search of some means of transport to take us well within the realm of the Medina. It just so happens that a horse cart pulls up beside us. We check that he knows where it is, which of course he does. We hop into the back seat, which is surprisingly comfortable. The sun is setting, and the lights over the city are so pretty.
It takes about 20 minutes, darting through busy evening traffic, but having plenty of time to take it all in.
We are taken through winding, pebbled walkways of the medina, barely wide enough for the cart. We all of a sudden stop, when it gets really narrow, and way to busy for us to continue. The driver calls over a couple of young boys, and mutters a few words. We work out that these kids are going to lead us the remainder of the way .... We dart in and out of lanes, being just dark enough to be a little unsettling as you can't really see to far ahead, but we turn one last corner and we are there. We give the kids a few dollars, and thank them for their trouble.
Dar Yacout is quite grand. We walk through some large doors before being greeted by a team of staff, and quickly ushered up to the roof for an aperitif. We look down over the pool, and outside dining area on one side, and then an expansive view of the old city contained within the medina, and the bustle of the new city in the distance.
This is one of very few places that serves alcohol in Morocco. This is also the first time in our 11 day trip that we have any, so decide on a simple aperitif of white wine. It comes served in a beautiful goblet, with a bowl of green sultanas and some lightly toasted almonds.
We are then taken down to our table, and offered local Spring water as well as a selection of wines. We choose a Moroccan Rose. It was light, crisp and a beautiful rose color with the crystal glasses glistening under the dim light.
The usual Moroccan salad component of the meal arrives promptly. Little plates of spiced olives, carrot & orange salad, roasted garlic eggplant, zalouk, artichokes & little crispy pastries. These are all devoured with the infinite supply of soft bread.
These beautifully adorned vessels then arrive and rest beside the table.
The first unveiling reveals the oh-to-familiar chicken, preserved lemon & olive tagine. Shockingly, it is a whole chicken! just for the two of us ... we know there is more food to come, so despite it being delicious have to refrain from eating too much.
There is then a tagine of lamb with fresh peas. A massive portion again, we don't even get half way through it ....
Cous-cous with 7 vegetables is a fine example of this preparation, and a very welcome accompaniment to the lamb tagine.
We see a sweet pastilla placed down on the table beside us while we are finishing our main. They are as shocked as we seem with the sheer size, barely managing to get through a 1/4 of it. We wonder what happens with all of the remaining food .... as grand as each of the dishes seem, receiving whole chickens, or giant pastilla, we could have easily had 2 very hungry guests with us and no extra food. As soon as we indicate defeat against the lamb & cous-cous, it is whisked away. Moments later our table is graced with one giant pastilla.
It is absolutely delicious, layers of crisp, flaky pastry with toasted almonds and sweet milk. We manage one slice each, before a pot of mint tea and a tower of fresh baked sweets and cookies completely wipe us out. Oh .. so .. full!
An absolutely amazing setting, the pre-dinner drinks in the upstairs bar with a view of the city a highlight. The food was nice, but next time we will be sure to enjoy it with a few more people ....