The Ruined Garden - Fez, Morocco
The medina in Fez, Morocco gave us some of the most peculiar yet delicious flavours ever experienced, and definitely exceeding all of our expectations. The rich, authentic Moroccan recipes mixed with new found ways of cooking are really buzzing in the backstreets of the ancient city.
An elderly man from The Ruined Garden picked us up from Dar Roumana and lead us through the closing walls of the city. As we approached the restaurant, the air was thin and we could smell the Fassi cuisine coming from the chef's kitchen before we even made it to the front door. Upon entering the restaurant we found ourselves in a nature lover's paradise with orange and lemon trees as well as fully bloomed jasmines and roses. The floral decor along with the exotic plants in a ruined setting works its magic.
We were greeted by owner Robert and had a nice chat with him about his ventures in the ancient city. Robert explained to us how he and his business partner John first found this crumbled space and converted it into Riad Idrissy to make it the oasis of boutique luxury that it is today. The Ruined Garden came after the riad concept was established and they take great pride in providing delicious traditional moroccan cuisine in the city. The establishment additionally hosts cooking classes to anyone that wants to indulge even more into the Moroccan culture.
The riad and garden was once a grand house that was abandoned over the last century as merchants left for the new capital of Rabat or the sprawling port city of Casablanca, leaving the house with new neighbours. Luckily, these young expats (Robert and John) had a greater vision and made it what it is today. We tasted the Moroccan craft beer, which was really good, before going full steam ahead with the dishes. The Kefta Mkaoura is delicious, from the moment the plate hit the table the aroma in itself had us salivating. The monkfish and salmon was equally tasty and packed with flavour. Believe it or not we pushed it and had dessert, we couldn't leave without trying the salted lemon cheesecake and it didn't disappoint.
The team behind T&L have ventured through Fez on many occasions, and can say that after several years visiting The Ruined Garden, the cuisine gets more elaborate and improves as returning travellers expect to taste new dishes. Everyday of the week you can expect different dishes recommended by the chef. If you are in luck, you will come across the lamb or vegetable (vegetarian's choice) b'stella or the vegetable, chicken and caramelised onions with hand rolled couscous. Whatever your choice of food preference, you will be devouring authentic Moroccan cuisine.
The Ruined Garden Fez Medina | Mediterranean fusion with Moroccan, Café, Bistro | From 12:00 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday to Tuesday | estimate 15€ (150 durhams) for two plates and a drink | 5 or 6 minutes walk downhill from Batha roundabout | Robertinfez@gmail.com | +212 649191410 - +0649191410 | www.ruinedgarden.com |