We ate here on our third night in Marrakech. We had read a lot of the reviews about the restaurant and it sounded something special. First of all we would like to say that the meal was very good and the surroundings were excellent. The service was good and attentive without being overbearing. It was, however, a very expensive night out costing us nearly GBP200 in total for two people (including 1 bottle house wine) For these kind of prices standards need to be high in all aspects. There was a disappointment in being encouraged to come along at 7pm for the 'canapés on the rooftop terrace'. We duly arrived at around 7pm and the terrace was indeed stunning. However, canapés didn't actually arrive until around 7:55pm and we felt that the invitation had been aimed more at inviting us to buy some expensive drinks for an hour rather than to enjoy a selection of canapés from a top class chef. I think a complimentary drink on arrival would have been a nice touch. When the canapés did arrive they comprised a shot glass of cucumber gazpaccio (very nice) and a 2cm square piece of toast with goat's cheese on the top. Like a rather disappointing piece of art, I was left with the feeling that I could have very easily created that myself. The meal was very good and the chef clearly knows his stuff. I think that the shredded chicken pastilla followed by the shredded duck was a little repetitive but the tastes were intense and very well put together. The pre-dessert and dessert were particularly lovely. It was basically a tasting menu but somewhat restricted in range. We all ate at the same time, had exactly the same dishes (apart from a selection of 3 courses for the mains) and all customers finished at exactly the same time (we were told on arrival that the meal would be 2hrs 15 mins and it was that to the minute!). I understand why this has to be the case but we felt that we had paid a fairly hefty price without some of the usual perks associated with these kind of price ranges (greater freedom of choice and time). The chef came and spoke to us after the meal to ask our views and we felt that was a nice touch. Probably wouldn't go again ourselves but worth a try for the lovely ambience at the Riyadh, the good service and a good chef.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 27, 2013
Hi Jaycee – thanks for the detailed review. I was just reading through it line by line & it does seem that you really liked most things – meal very good, surroundings excellent, service good & attentive, intense tastes, well put together, good chef, etc, etc. For tripadvisor, 4 stars means ‘good’ so perhaps 3 stars feels like we were slightly under-marked by a star! (although we are continually disappointed with 4 stars or less because we always aim for 5 stars !). It seems like the price was the only negative for you.
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To comment on a few points…
I am not sure what you ordered to get your bill up to £200. Dinner is £50 per person, wines are typically £20 per bottle. house wine is £17, and cocktails are £7.50. Certainly we are not cheap, but we have always focused on quality, are a fair price, & never set out to offer budget meals. I certainly agree with you that, at the prices we charge, standards need to be high. It is the same in the riad, maison mk, where we charge 300 and 400 euros per night – if we charge those prices, we have to deliver accordingly. Thankfully, most people say that we offer good value.
Canapés at 7.55 – this should not have happened. We do say to people that they can come any time between 7pm & 8pm to have a drink on the terrace (or not) as its unusual to have an alcohol licence at a riad in the medina so you can drink in peace without the fear of being raided by police and kicked out! We know our roof terrace is loved by many and we are in a great position in the best neighbourhood so it’s meant to be a positive, not a negative thing when we invite you to the enjoy the roof terrace with the maison mk guests before your meal!
We say in advance that pre-dinner canapés are generally served about 7.30pm = we now say between 7.30 and 8pm (thank-you to you) as not everyone gets to us on time. I am not sure what the delay was that night (remember that it is very hard for us owners to know when somebody came because we have no dates, no proper names, etc but we get a record of everything each night), but please accept my apologies for the late arrival of the canapés. (We are also changing the canapés at the moment to make them more unusual, luxurious, and intense – watch this space…)
Certainly there is no plan to ‘sell drinks’ to clients – most choose to have a drink, some choose not to . It is true that drinks are not cheap – we are very fortunate that the authorities allow us to serve alcohol in a Muslim country, but duty & taxes are very high & this is the reason that drinks prices are generally in line with London prices.
Two hours 15 minutes . Another review mentioned that they were told it would be exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes. Here is what I explained to them…” When the waiter says it takes 2 hours 15 minutes, its because we do know roughly how long the service takes. We have spent a lot of time over the past 3 years and 9000 meals to find a pace of meal that suits 95% of people. We know that all couples are different, but between 2 hours and 2 ½ hours tends to be about right. However, please remember that, while our staff speak great English, they are Moroccan & speak Arabic first, and French second, and English third. So, in England, a waiter would say ‘the meal typically takes about two, or two and a quarter hours, approximately, just so that you know’ , perhaps a little is just lost in the sophisticated translation when the waiter said it would take ‘two and a quarter hours’. We also have various guests that are getting shuttle busses back to their hotels, or want to book taxis in advance, so we do find that guests generally like to know roughly what time they will be finished.”
So, Jaycee, I know it’s a long answer to your comments, but I know that people like to read the reviews of 1 star, 2 star, and 3 stars (so do I – they are always the most interesting, and sometimes humourous!), so it is important to explain why some things happen in the way that they do. And just as important to say sorry when things go wrong, as they occasionally do! We have learned so much from people’s comments on Tripadvisor over the past 3 years & being number one for the entire 3 years does not mean that we take anything for granted, we are always looking to learn and improve. We appreciate all your comments and are actually working on several of them at the moment.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.