When looking for somewhere pleasantly comfortable but distinctly exotic to dine in Adelaide, the Marrakech Restaurant at 66 King William Street, Hyde Park ticks all the boxes.
The Marrakech is a Mediterranean retreat, an escape from the city of churches to an atmosphere evocative of the Casbah – in turn bustling with activity then providing drifting serenity against a background of tinkling music and the murmur of happy diners.
The staff are friendly, the service they provide is unique to the Marrakech – sometimes choosing for you what they think you will enjoy more – and together complementing the succulent, spicy and aromatic choices of food on offer.
Mohamed Bartaouch is chef, owner and life and soul of the Marrakech. He is proud of what he has achieved with his restaurant, and happily spoke to SALT Magazine about his journey from the heat and deserts of North Africa to a quiet, Adelaide suburb.
‘I have always loved cooking ever since I was a kid helping my mother prepare food for her catering business’ he said, ‘and when I moved to Australia I couldn’t resist the idea of starting up my own food business to do something I really wanted to do.’ This was despite his qualification as an engineer – ‘I guess I liked the idea of cooking more,’ he explained.
After working in several restaurants across Adelaide, on weekends he started catering for small functions. Word spread and he was asked to cater for hundreds at a time.
‘People started asking me why I didn’t have a restaurant and the rest is history,’ he says.
He enrolled in a TAFE course to learn food hygiene, handling, preparation and presentation – and opened the Marrakech about 4 years ago. It’s now a hotspot for those with a taste for something different. His dishes are all tasty, filling and beautifully presented, and are usually accompanied by Moroccan mint tea served in the traditional style.
Mohamed takes great care with his signature dishes, taking great patience and care with unique ingredients.
His most famous and sought after dish is the tender Lamb Tagine, which is slow-cooked with cinnamon, honey, prunes, and roasted almonds, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
So why not give the Marrakech a try next time you eat out? Alternatively, book his catering service which is still available.
Meanwhile, enjoy Mohamed’s Lamb Tagine recipe below….ingredients can be brought from the ‘Taste of Marrakech’ shop at the Central Market.
Location 66 King William Street, Hyde Park
Open 6pm – Late every day except Monday
Phone 8299 9901
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
900g lean leg or shoulder of lamb, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp water
12 prunes, soaked in warm water
4 tbsp clear honey
Almonds, sesame seeds, 1 tsp orange flower water
1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in tagine or a large lidded pan. Add the onion and lamb and cook until the meat is brown on all sides.
2. Pour enough water over the meat to cover. Add a further two tablespoons of olive oil, salt, black pepper and spices to the meat and bring to the boil.
3. Turn the heat down, put the lid on and allow the meat to simmer for about two hours.
4. Add the soaked prunes and leave to simmer for a further 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the honey and sprinkle the tagine with orange flower water, almonds and a scatter of sesame seeds.