Morocco isn’t the sort of place you immediately think of for fine dining and I’d imagined that our few days exploring Marrakech would be spent sampling lots of cheap Moroccan delights in the street markets and in small restaurants. But then I stumbled across Gastro MK, a beautiful restaurant set in the riad at Maison MK, that serves up a scrumptious sounding five course tasting menu. I’d never had a tasting menu before (they’re so ridiculously expensive in London) but I loved the sound of their European cuisine with a Moroccan twist. Although I don’t listen exclusively to TripAdvisor for my travel recommendations, the fact that the restaurant has been number 1 for four years running had to mean something, so we decided to book a table and make a special night of it.
We donned our best outfits (I had been waiting ages for the chance to wear this dress!) and arrived early for drinks before dinner. After a fruity non-alcoholic shot we were shown up to the roof terrace where we had a view of the Marrakech skyline all lit up at night and the orange glow of Maison MK matched my dress perfectly.
Sipping our cocktails with an accompaniment of canapés, it already seemed like the most romantic evening up there on the rooftop under the stars but it became even more romantic when, a little while later, we were shown down to our table in a quiet secluded spot right next to the shimmering blue pool. It was a really beautiful setting for dinner with a few tables dotted around the pool and several more inside meaning all the diners had lots of privacy for an intimate evening.
A never ending feast began to arrive at our table, delicious course after delicious course and fruity cocktail after fruity cocktail. Cauliflower and saffron veloute, beetroot cured salmon gravadlax, sea bass fillet with mushroom and vegetable risotto, ravioli filled with Moroccan vegetables. I’m not even sure what half those words mean but I do know that every single dish was amazing.
Like an annoying cat watching you eat your dinner, I kept eye-balling Mr Ayla’s main dish until he finally caved in and let me have a forkful. My ravioli was tasty but the seabass risotto was out of this world and after one bite I had major food envy. But real love is all about sharing your food right (?!) so he was kind enough to let me have a few more mouthfuls!
Two dessert courses followed along with the obligatory pot of mint tea that Morocco is so famous for. Mint tea panacotta (apologies – we ate this too quickly to get a photograph!) and a board of pineapple lassi, pineapple sorbet and spiced carpaccio of pineapple. I was in my element with this dessert as I love pineapple although sprinkled with chilli made it a slightly odd combination and it did set out mouths a little on fire. We were advised which order to eat the pineapple dishes in so the lassi and sorbet calmed our mouths after the chilli and added a refreshingly cool flavour.
Considering we had eaten five whole courses of food plus canapés, the portions were just about the right size so my stomach felt completely satisfied and not too full at all. That is until our waiter brought over an extra chocolatey treat with a candle and a “Happy Anniversary” message scrawled across the plate in chocolate sauce. I don’t even remember mentioning to the restaurant when I made our reservation that this trip was for our anniversary but it seemed that the staff at Gastro MK had gone all out to make our night a special one.
If I hadn’t been stuffed before, I definitely was now! But it wasn’t our fault that such delicious dishes kept appearing in front of us. Obviously we weren’t going to let any of it go to waste!
While the meal may have been fairly pricey for Moroccan standards at 650 dirhams per person not including drinks (around £45 each), the beautiful setting and mouth-watering food was completely worth it. The extra special dessert, the adorably sweet staff and the chef who personally came to our table at the end of the meal to make sure we’d enjoyed our evening all made it that extra bit special.
If you’re looking for something special or a bit different in Marrakech I cannot recommend Gastro MK enough. We ate at a variety of fabulous places during our trip but we had such a wonderful evening here that it was easily our best meal in Marrakech.
Have you been to Marrakech? Where was your favourite meal? Let me know in the comments below or at: