Worn out by poking around tiny hole in the wall shops in the souk and its environs for thuya wood letter racks, soft leather slippers, yet more passementerie and pretty gold etched tea glasses, we headed to Terrasse des Epices today for lunch. I knew little of it, other than it was in the H2G Marrakech guide iPhone app I was using, and lots of the shops I wanted to visit in the souk were described as being under or next to it.
It turned out to be, ahem, an excellent choice, if not a knowing one. Perched three floors up above the souk, it’s in a different universe from the filthy tourist traps of the restaurants panoramique of the Djemaa El Fna half a mile away through the souk, even though the prices aren’t dissimilar.
The food is French, by way of Morocco, and the clientele was almost wholly French too. (Why are French tourists so effortlessly chic & sexy, and English ones so rumpled & unalluring?)
Terrasse des Epices has the same laid back sunny feel of an Ibiza roof top restaurant, (add in palm trees on the horizon and minus the house music soundtrack) but still feels Moroccan. At 2pm, we had to wait fifteen minutes or so for a table at the bar, no hardship with such excellent people-watching.
The French maître d’ took a shine to us, giving us our own huge shaded booth, where we ordered Moroccan salad (me) & chicken rolls (her), and herb marinated char-grilled chicken brochettes (her) & tagine (me). All of which were delicious, as was the coup de glace with which we finished.
As we lolled on the embroidered cushions, luxuriating in our well-fed holiday bubble, I was mesmerized by the emerald green suede loafers of a man in the next door booth. It was only when I caught sight of Jacquetta Wheeler drifting across the terrace that I realised that the feet in the shoes belonged to Hamish Bowles.
Both definitely an exception to rumpled and unalluring.