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Tastes from Middle East at Marrakech Restaurant

All cultures have their most popular dishes. English food is famous for fish and chips, Italians have amazing pasta dishes, and the Middle East is famous for hummus.

The Middle East covers Arab, Iranian, Persian, Assyrian, Armenian, Kurdish, Greek, Cypriot, Azerbaijani and Turkish cuisines. A recent Sunday fun day finds me at the Marrakech Restaurant on the second floor of Yaya Centre in the suburbs of Hurligham, Nairobi.

I like the set up of the food court at Yaya, where you choose which restaurant you want to dine at, get a seat and wait to be served. This is unlike in other malls where the seating area is shared, and then all those waiters run and overwhelm and flood you with their different menus trying to make a sale. So at Yaya you don’t have to worry about all this fuss.

The restaurant name is inspired by the city of Marrakech in Morocco, home to various mosques breath-taking gardens and palaces. I hear it’s a great holiday destination I’m looking forward to and maybe you should too.

If you’re looking for variety, Marrakech Restaurant has that to offer. In case the meal names on the menu are too complex for you, there are waiters who will explain everything in detail.

Plus I love the fact that they make all their sauces on location, including fresh pita bread and baguette straight from their bakery. I tried the mint vanilla smoothie while two of my friends sipped strawberry ice tea and lemonade. That was the best smoothie I have had in days, especially because it had an equal amount of milk ice cream.

The twist taste from the mint is heavenly. After enjoying the drink, I felt cheated by mediocre smoothies we get at some restaurants. They use a small amount of yoghurt and milk and then call it as smoothie, but I guess now we know, what happens behind that kitchen.

For starters, we had the healthy option; falafel hummus which is a mashed chickpea dip made with tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. It is an enticing appetizer, served with pita bread and can also be used as a sandwich spread. I loved the deep fried falafel, which also made of chickpea with a mix of fresh spices, coriander and garlic.

For the main dishes, we tried different meals. I had chicken shawarma mixed with liver served on baguette, stuffed with shredded red cabbage and sauced with home-made tahini. The baguette is divided into two portions but one serving is filling, I actually packed a portion for take-away. It’s a bite full of what I call unending goodness.

One of my friends had fillet with French fries while another one opted for the usual chicken sharwarma. What’s funny is that he did not even finish his first portion of the pita bread. I can see myself live on shawarma and hummus for the rest of my life.

Especially hummus because it’s a healthy option. And worry not about the budget — the prices are pocket-friendly. They range from Sh400 to Sh1,500 depending on what you’re having. They also have an open kitchen so you get to see how your meals are being prepared.

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