Friday, 18 December 2009

Elizir is Essaouria's excellent equivalent of a supper club

Every holiday has it’s culinary highlights, which isn’t surprising given that we plan our trips around our meals! Our best meal by far was at Elizir. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a thrilling display of imagination in a land of tagines and overcooked fish.

Clocks

Odd light

Junk

Light cube

Walking into Elizir is like tripping over, bumping your head, accidentally eating a magic mushroom and then entering into an art gallery in a children’s nursery rhyme on Portobello Road. A display of vintage clocks showing the wrong time sits in one corner. In another is a table full of magazines, bizarre telephones and records. All the lighting is incredibly cool. So cool in fact that a photographer from Vogue sat at her table alone taking snaps of the interior whilst we absorbed the atmosphere.

The food is just as creative. A colourful line of dips kicks things off with some soft flat bread to mop it up along with some strongly flavoured olive oil. Tapenade is excellent. A pumpkin dip is a revelation. And some tart goats’ cheese didn’t take any prisoners either.

Dips

Tapenade

My squid ink risotto was very good, if a touch dry. It had clearly been made with care and passion and had been seasoned well.

Squid ink risotto

Cowie’s gnocchi with almond pesto was very good too. After five days of couscous and tagines, some risotto and pasta was a real treat.

Gnocchi with almond pesto

True to type we went for a safe tagine and a more adventurous version. As is often the case, Cowie’s safety first approach paid off with her excellent lamb and pear tagine. Whereas my more gung-ho choice of chicken and gorgonzola tagine was less successful.

Chicken and gorgonzola tagine

Lamb and pear tagine

It turns out that creamy blue cheese doesn’t go with slow cooked Moroccan chicken. But lamb with pears and a few pine nuts is awesome.

Feeling very full we, shamefully, shunned dessert in favour of a walk around their enchanting roof terrace where the art gallery continues under a cloudless, twinkling sky.

We’ll forever remember Elizir, as much for the relaxed and imaginative environment as the food – in many ways it’s very close to the feel of a clandestine supper club in a strangers home. It’s a very special place that you simply have to experience if you are paying a visit to Essouria.

Thanks to Gourmet Chick for suggesting Elizir.

This is part of a mini-series of posts about Essaouira.

3 comments:

Helen said...

Oooh this looks interesting. I loved 'accidentally' eat a magic mushroom...

I have to say though that chicken and blue cheese tagine does sound a bit rank. Blue cheese and chicken? It reminds me of awful student meals of chicken breasts stuffed with blue cheese and then wrapped in bacon.

Browners said...

@Helen - It's a really cool place. If you ever go to Essaouira you've got to eat at Elizir. And it's probably my fault for deliberately ordering something I thought might be a bit odd!

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