I was rather disappointed to learn that the film Casablanca wasn’t actually filmed in Morocco at all, but rather at a film studio in Hollywood.
So I think it is rather brilliant that Kathy Kriger has created her very own Rick’s Cafe in the Medina of Casablanca.
The actual Rick’s Cafe may not look that similar to the movie version, but it definitely had the right atmosphere and feel of a 1940’s bar.
White-washed walls, low archways, dark wood furniture, traditional Moroccan lighting casting shadows everywhere (which made food photography impossible I’m afraid) and a piano bar.
We were seated upstairs by the most ridiculously polite and attentive waiters, all wearing 1940’s themed outfits. Issam was the pianist for the evening, who entertained with various tunes from the 40’s, including the infamous ‘As Time Goes By’.
Boon and I started our evening with cocktails; Bloody Mary for me (which was perfectly seasoned) and a Margarita for my good man. Before moving onto the local Casablanca beer and sparkling water.
The menu is simple and includes a variety of dishes – from traditional Moroccan food to steak and pasta. Printed on one side of A4, I really like that it is dated and you are able to take it home with you as a memento if you wish.
Boon and I both opted for a goats cheese starter – his the salad with figs and mine the croquettes with lavender, crushed almonds and honey. Unfortunately I didn’t like mine at all, which is nothing to do with the food, just me not enjoying the sweetness of the honey with the bitterness of the lavender – Boon gobbled mine down as well as his own and declared them both delicious.
For the main course, you choose your meat and then two accompaniments… I went for the lamb chops (medium) with mint pesto, with mashed potato and onion rings on the side. This really was wonderfully good, which was evident by the fact that I picked the bones clean!
Boon chose the Moroccan lemon roasted chicken with buttered pasta and assorted vegetables, which was gone in two seconds flat, so he must have loved it.
Dessert saw us both choosing the Chocolate Lava Cake, which was cooked to order, so took around 20 minutes to arrive at our table, but was definitely worth the wait. Moist chocolatey sponge with a hot, liquid chocolate centre that oozed out over the orange sorbet that came with it.
Price wise, Rick’s Cafe would be good value in the UK, but is expensive for Casablanca – our dinner came to 800 dirham (around £65), that said, we both agree it was worth every penny.
If you’re in Casablanca, I’d certainly suggest checking it out.