Marrakesh by Mindo is Dublin’s newest and possibly best Moroccan restaurant. Situated in the burgeoning food scene in Capel Street it is contemporary, cool and has enough downstairs karaoke rooms to keep even the most enthusiastic crooners happy.
We have been regular travellers to Morocco for about a decade and a half now. We go at least once a year, in the early spring to recover from the bruising Irish winter and to chill out. The temperatures are always in the mid twenties, the people are friendly and the vibe is very relaxed. It is also quite exotic; you definitely feel you’re not in Europe anymore, and the smells of the Souk, the local restaurants serving traditional Moroccan food and a road trip to magical Essouira or bustling Marrakech adds a bit of adventure.
Moroccan food is very healthy, Tagines are effectively stews with more exotic spices, salads and soups are homemade and light and grilled fish is served simply with lemon, so with a bit experience I was looking forward to the food in Marrakesh.
We had been for lunch and their Harissa soup - a staple in Morocco, ever restaurant has their own - was excellent; nicely spiced, thick but not too much so and it had a depth of flavour that was the sign of a good one. Simple Moroccan bread served with salad and grilled prawns were light in the summer heat wave and we decided a return was on the cards, so along I went with ad man Peter Mansfield, who’s just back from his umpteenth Moroccan sojourn, for a spot of dinner.
Inside the restaurant is a long galley style space, with warm mustard walls, and fretwork pillars. Towards the back there is some original brickwork in the shape of a tunnel and traditional Moroccan lamp shades diffuse the light and provide a point of tradition in this contemporary room.
The menu features all the Moroccan favourites, with a choice of Tagines, couscous and chefs specials. There are three or four fish dishes and each evening the early bird runs all night offering great value with two courses available for only €22.
We picked the more specialised dishes so started with Habda, traditional lambs liver cooked with spices and served with a Moroccan salad. Tangy, meaty yet light it’s a perfect starter size. Peter has the prawns, which come with leaves and a lightly spiced. Succulent and soft the dazzle with a dash of lemon.
As the designated driver I stuck to the sparkling water, but peter enjoyed a glass of French burgundy, and Chardonnay that was very pleasing indeed.
Main courses brought us one of the chefs specials, lamb’s tongue cooked in the tagine, with chickpeas and spices. This was a spectacularly good dish, impossibly tender and with a kick. I had one of my favourites, the Pastille. This is a sweet dish served like a pie with very delicate pastry. This one had rabbit, sultanas the sweetness comes from a dusting of sugar and almonds. Pastille is served in Morocco’s better restaurant and it is a delicate and delicious dish when done correctly, as it was here.
We finished with s selection of baklava and a custard cream dessert. A coffee for me and a sinful espresso martini sent us happily on our way into the still balmy Dublin night.