A Fine-Dining Restaurant Hidden in Marrakesh’s Old City
Le trou au mur means ‘hole in the wall’ in French, and its name hints that finding this restaurant in Marrakesh’s labyrinthian medina is an adventure in itself. Hidden away amid winding lanes (staff are on call to guide you if you’re having trouble finding it), Le Trou au Mur is the newest venture of the gorgeous boutique hotel Riad Farnatchi. If you’re in town to visit the city’s wonderful new Yves Saint Laurent museum (the designer had a house here and helped revive the glorious garden, also open to the public) or shop in its glittering souks, this is an ideal lunch, dinner, or cocktail spot.
This medina restaurant is something different in Marrakesh, with its aim to revive traditional Moroccan recipes that you’d find in the home. Le Trou has made it a mission to discover the specialities that have rarely made it to restaurant tables. Plus, it serves alcohol (including great cocktails), not always a given in central Marrakesh, and has some comfort-food international dishes too.
The interior has a similar verve to those of Riad Farnatchi and its spa, which lie just across the alley. The restaurant has a great roof terrace, and its dining room is paved in black and white chevron tiles, has intricate white arches, skylights, the eggshell gleam of tadelakt lime plaster on the walls, and contemporary touches, such as the green banquettes and the chairs, each with a photographic portrait from historic local photographs obtained from the nearby Maison de la Photographie.
We started with a fragrant array of seven local salads, served in dishes suspended from a silver branching frame. These are a gloriously tantalizing start, including delicately spiced peppers, roasted eggplants, and silky-textured grated carrot, fresh with rose water.
For our main courses, we dug into baked Atlantic fish stuffed with vermicelli, olives and preserved lemon, which is punchy yet light, with simple, powerful flavours, and traditional mechoui, slowly roasted lamb that has been baked underground until it falls apart at the touch of a fork, a richly heartwarming dish. The menu also offers the international comfort food, such as Berber shepherd’s pie, mac ‘n’ cheese or a lamb burger.
Puddings run to international favorites such as bread and butter pudding and banoffee pie as well as traditional Moroccan dishes such as pastilla – multi-layered sugared filo pastry and candied fruits. But after the substantial mains, we opted for the fragrant ice creams and sorbets, with the orange blossom-scented sorbet close to heavenly. Marrakesh’s medina has long been a place of hidden wonders, and with Le Trou, it has a new gastronomic gem that’s a great deal more than a hole in the wall. This spot is just one of the many reasons why Morocco is one of the year’s top travel destinations.
The meal described in this review was provided at no cost to the contributor.