Royal Mansour, Marrakech

Gastronomic Grandeur

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Now it could be said I have somewhat of a soft spot for Chef Yannick Alléno and if you are ever lucky enough to dine at one of his restaurants you will see why. Having eaten at his 3 Michelin restaurant Le Meurice and the sister restaurant Le Dali in Paris I knew that dining at the gastronomic Le Table Francis and Le Table Marocaine at the Royal Mansour in Marrakech I was in for a culinary delight. The restaurants are located off the grand courtyard of the entrance to the resort, nestled in a free standing medina which is split in to two with one side being a French restaurant and the other side a restaurant serving Moroccan fine dining.

Both are decorated in a way to match the cuisine served, with the Moroccan dining room dressed in authentic North African décor from dark wood paneling to rich velvets of earthy tones and the French restaurant mirroring a grand room of a palace such as Versailles with porcelain white furnishings and drop crystal chandeliers. Both dining rooms were truly breathtaking and very opulent, the perfect preview of what was to come.

While dining at Le Table Marocaine I sampled dishes including Sh’hiwates (Moroccan Salads), snails in grilled ravioli pasta with watercress broth perfumed with kdied, M’Hamssa (Grains cooked with Clams), steamed turbot and spider crab M’bakhar-style, beef tanjia and for dessert Royal Mansour orange pearls with dates, mint and cinnamon. The highlights for me were the snails, a wonderful dish that fused Moroccan and French cuisine in to a beautifully presented plate that packed flavor.

Another highlight was the beef tanjia, fragrant, juicy, moreish and a great fine dining representation of a traditional Moroccan dish. The dessert of orange pearls was also a unqiue and exciting dining experience using micro-gastronomy where upon the pearls burst in your mouth with the most intense orange flavor, a wonderful end to an astonishing meal. Le Table Marocaine has captured the authenticity of the local cuisine yet has presented such spectacular food in a modern and luxurious way through the expertise of Yannick Alléno and his team of skilled chefs.

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Le Table Français is a complete juxtaposition in design and menu to Le Table Marocaine, as you walk in to the grand dining room you could almost believe you were in France. The restaurant and food is delicate and elegant, with red roses on the table as the only major colour in the room against the creams and whites of the décor. While dining here I ate langoustine with courgette, almond juice and orange blossom, steamed sea bass with alla vongole pasta, whole boneless roasted pigeon with braised heart of green cabbage with purple juice, roasted pineapple with coconut sorbet and to finish chocolate shell with light caramel cream, peanut crumble and chestnut tree honey ice cream.

Every dish is a presented like a work of art, so dainty one wonders how to approach such a dish as it seemed a shame to spoil such a splendid food. The langoustine was perfectly pink and succulent, the sea bass flaked under your fork and complemented the al dente pasta; the pigeon was meaty, earthy, and very easy to eat as it had been boned. Not a usual lover of desserts since I am such a carnivore, I surprised myself that I was mesmerised by the chocolate shell, the portion was just right so it was not too sickly or heavy after such a meal, I could have probably – to my shame – eaten another one! In such a beautiful dining room I could have easily whiled away the hours there taking in the ambience of such a grand restaurant but Royal Mansour has so much to offer in the way of food and beverage one can eat and drink at a different place each night if you so wish.

After each meal I sojourned to either the Le Bar, a stunning pink gold leaf adorned cocktail bar and lounge, Le Piano Bar, a sleek sophisticated lounge offering relaxed live music overlooking Andalusian gardens or Le Bar a Cigare which offers an extensive selection of vintage spirits and famous cigar brands. All served a mean Espresso Martini so was indeed a happy bunny. With such a range of wining and dining options at Royal Mansour one could forget that the resort is designed for seclusion with hidden away private riads, but the Royal Mansour has thought of everything when it comes to the want of the customer. All food and beverages, under the supervision of Yannick Alléno, can be experienced within the confines of ones riad, whether that be in your dining room or terrace under the African sky, how truly indulgent! Personally I am glad I dined in the restaurants for they are truly magnificent not only in design and grandeur but you can experience the culture of two gastronomic nations in one space, Morocco to France and back again, thanks to the culinary skill of Yannick Alléno.

Dining at Royal Mansour
Royal Mansour
Rue Abou Abbas el Sebti
40 000 Marrakech
Morocco

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