Out of Africa
PUBLISHED: 06:49 20 October 2014
The Marrakech Restaurant promises an exotic taste of Morocco to indulge your senses. This is quite some boast on a bustling Tuesday lunchtime on Wymondham's Market Street, where it is sandwiched between the shops, tucked inside the Consort Town House Hotel.
Yet, step through the door and the enticing smells of north-east African cuisine suggest that it might just live up to its claims. With two small – and thankfully unfussy – boys in tow, we thought a lunchtime visit to sample its tapas menu would be the perfect opportunity to try lots of dishes.
The restaurant is spread across two rooms, with lunch served in its more informal café area. While it does not have the warm and decadent feeling of the main restaurant, this is bright and airy with more than a few nods to its Moroccan roots. As the waiter approached he explained it was his first week and he hoped we would be patient with him; he needn’t have been concerned, his warm and chatty demeanor with us and the children only added to the experience.
Deciding on nine separate dishes proved tricky. There was a fantastic choice of traditional couscous dishes, seafood, marinated meats, spiced lentils and vegetable dishes.
We ordered bread, hommous and olives for a starter (£4.50) while we waited for our tapas to be prepared. The Moroccan flat bread was freshly baked and still hot and we were quickly tucking in. It was served with two variations of hommous, both delicately flavoured, deliciously fresh – and ensuring we would never quite be happy with the supermarket version in a tub again. Thankfully there were plenty of marinated olives with it, as the boys homed in and virtually inhaled them.
For our nine tapas dishes (three for £12), we had opted for fried sardines flavoured with Moroccan salsa; meatballs cooked with tomato sauce and mixed spices served with rice; lamb couscous; filo pastry filled with king prawns, vermicelli and sweet chilli; fruity spiced beef; curry potatoes; vegetable couscous and chicken cooked with preserved lemon, coriander and olives.
Moroccan food is famous for its mild spicing and subtle flavours which gives it its distinct taste and this was evident in every dish. The beef and lamb were both incredibly tender and had clearly been marinated for some time, while the delicate, fluffy couscous was the perfect accompaniment.
The fried sardines were crispy and salty, with the lovely tomato sauce adding a burst of flavour and the chicken with lemon and olives was delicious. The simple curry potatoes and vegetable couscous were the perfect accompaniment to the meat and fish.
The boys favourite dishes were the meatballs in tomato sauce served with rice and the filo pastry with spicy prawns – in fact, we all fought over that dish as it was so delicious.
Most of the tapas is simply a small taster of what is available on the menu for dinner, when it is served as a main meal in a classic tagine, such an iconic symbol of Moroccan cooking.
The evening menu also includes a selection of desserts – although I can’t imagine anyone has much room left to sample them – and the drinks menu features a good selection of Moroccan wine and beer.
Nine dishes was just the right amount for lunch. We finished every last bit and left feeling very satisfied. At lunchtime, the menu also includes sandwiches and an archetypal British kids’ menu – but if you are going to a place which specialises in such fabulous authentic food it seems wrong to eat anything else.
Marrakech Restaurant, 28 Market Street, Wymondham, NR18 0BB, 01953 711350, www.marrakech-restaurant.co.uk
Expect to pay
Moroccan tapas, three dishes for £12
Sandwiches/baguettes from £2.50
Dinner: Starters from £3.95
Side dishes £2
Main meals from £9.95 to £12.95