On our next three nights in Marrakech, my husband Steve and I were staying at the 6* Royal Palm Hotel. It was just as grand as we expected and the intricately detailed and plush interiors really were a feast for the eyes. We stayed in a huge suite with not one but TWO balconies and the king size bed was most definitely the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, with the mattress and sumptuous bedding helping to create a dreamy 'sleeping on a cloud' scenario.
For dinner on our first night there, we were booked into the hotel's all-female Moroccan restaurant Al Aïn. If ever you want to be astounded by one of the most romantic and sensual walks to dinner, then this is the place you need to visit. Arriving at the top of the staircase from the hotel's ground floor, we were greeted by a suspended bridge-like walkway lit entirely by candles and Moroccan lanterns. It was beautiful.
Greeted by a helpful and friendly waitress, we were seated outside on the small candlelit balcony overlooking the pools and grounds of the hotel. During our visit it was Ramadan, so we were offered the choice of the Ramadan or a la carte menus. Seeing how big the Ramadan menu was on a neighbouring table, we decided to opt for the a la carte menu. Not one to break my eating tradition in Morocco so far, I ordered the Moroccan salads to start and Steve chose the Chicken Pastilla. We also ordered a bottle of Gris wine (Morocco's delicious version of a blush Rose) and enjoyed a glass looking out at the picturesque view.
Our starters arrived not long afterwards, and the Moroccan Salads were brought over to us on a tall metal cake stand, which was filled with small dishes. Each salad was refreshing, and full of flavour and I especially enjoyed the green beans and the fennel. The Pastilla was the perfect blend of savoury and sweet, with the sweetness coming from the icing sugar and cinnamon, which was in a delicate star shape across the top of the pastry.
For main course, I ordered the Lamb Tangia and Steve chose the Sefarade Style Rolled Chicken stuffed with Lamb. The chicken was similar to a Ballantine and the chicken was tender with juicy lamb inside and the green salad that accompanied it was all it needed. The Chicken Tangia came traditionally in a clay pot, which was then gently poured out onto my plate, and the delicious smells were devoured from it instantly. The lamb was beautifully cooked and the sauce was really flavorsome and was easily soaked up by the fluffy couscous.
We were really full after our mains so we sat enjoying our wine and had a little breather before ordering dessert. I decided to opt for something light, so chose the Orange Salad, and Steve went entirely the other way and ordered the Chakhchoukha, which was Filo Pastry with Candied Fruit and Saffron Cream. Despite sounding rich, the Chakhchoucka was surprisingly light and the saffron gave the dessert a really different taste. The orange salad was simple but delicious and refreshing with finely sliced oranges dressed with cinnamon and orange blossom.
We were then given a fun surprise by the staff who came out and performed Moroccan dancing alongside traditional Moroccan live music, getting everyone to clap along and in the case of some brave guests, dance along too! It was a really lovely end to the evening.
With our full but contented stomachs, we were so glad to be staying in the hotel so we could easily slope off to bed with just a short walk through the hotel grounds. We enjoyed a great evening at Al Aïn and the fun atmosphere, welcoming and friendly staff and stunning surroundings really made it a perfect meal.
*This blog was originally published on Dotty Dishes, for which they dined as a guest of Al Aïn.*Suggest a correction