Marrakech is fascinating and exhausting in equal parts – especially when your travel partner has prepared a ridiculously long itinerary, in the form of a Google document no less, of all the things she is adamant about doing. This was the case when I visited the Moroccan city last month for a wedding. By our last afternoon, much of which was spent wandering through the souks of the Medina, spiritedly haggling with traders for gifts to bring home, we were much in need of a break from the hustle and bustle. This was supplied in spades by the last Marrakech must on my friend’s list, a laidback rooftop bar and restaurant called Zwin’ Zwin’ Café, which had been recommended for its fabulous views.
With an early supper as our goal, we set off on a 15-minute stroll away from the market, followed by a trek up several somewhat precarious flights of stairs – some winding, some steep, some rickety. But what awaited us was well worth the excursion: a picturesque rooftop, lit with strings of lights and lanterns and strewn with colourful Moroccan cushions, looking out onto the city and neighbouring riads, all beautifully framed by the Atlas Mountains and setting sun. I was truly bowled over.
The menu may have played second fiddle to the setting, but only just. A bottle of Morocco’s famed gris wine (200-22dh, about £16.70) was the perfect accompaniment to the trio of salads (about £4) – a medley of okra, courgette and carrot, as well as a sublime zaalouk (about £4.50) stuffed with perfectly roasted aubergine we shared as a starter. Next up were succulent and tender yet hearty lamb meatballs (about £10), but the highlight of the meal, however, was the chicken pastillas (about £8), traditional Moroccan pastries that, contrary to what one would expect, are more sweet than savoury, flavoured with cinnamon and topped with almonds. I wasn’t quite sure whether I was eating dessert or a starter, but either way it tasted divine, which was fortunate as we found ourselves too pleasantly full to sample the apple pastilla (about £4.50) or ice cream (about £3.70). We did, however, sit back and enjoy one last glass of gris wine before bidding adieu to the most tranquil spot we found in this most buzzing city.