Moroccan cuisine presents us with a paradox. There are people who know our food and recognise it as among the finest gastronomies in the world; yet, unfortunately outside of Morocco people’s intimate knowledge of it is relatively slight. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Moroccan food doesn’t have a presence in London and beyond – what I am saying is that
relative to its status as a top five cuisine it is generally viewed as esoteric, exotic and decidedly un-mainstream. I wouldn’t say that this necessarily offends Joe and me as much as it surprises us.
Moroccan cuisine offers the diner an unusual combination of flavours that hit the palate in subtle and layered waves of deliciousness. Our food is satisfying yet amazingly light. It is also extremely healthy and vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.
Not least of all, Moroccan cuisine’s traditions and sophistication match and even exceed that of French cuisine – a view that is not just my own but widely considered a fact by chefs and food writers across the globe.
Of course, our customers know this very well and it is always interesting to hear from the non-Moroccan among them that they first sought out Zayane to recreate their initial heavenly foodie moment from their Moroccan holiday back here in London. I often think how bizarre it is that Londoners are first introduced to Moroccan food nearly 2,000 miles away in Morocco when Zayane is serving it a mere walk or underground ride away year-round!
Those who have been to Morocco know that my country is a thriving hotbed of some of the most exquisite food in the world. Moroccan cuisine is completely original, the likes of which there is no compare… anywhere. It has stayed the same for centuries not because we Moroccans are stagnant or lack creativity but because our cuisine was perfected long ago and each generation has fastidiously passed on its secrets to the next to make sure this rich cultural tradition is preserved forever. This has begotten our famously fragrant and pleasing dishes like couscous with root vegetables and lamb, pastilla, our world-famous tagines and even our unique biscuits! Our food is amazing because we Moroccans love eating and are famous for our joie de vivre (though maybe we don’t get as much credit for it as much as our French and Mediterranean counterparts!). In Morocco food is a celebration and our meals last for hours. As one of the founding members of the so-called Mediterranean diet, our cuisine is light, fragrant and healthy and makes great use of olive oil, fresh meat, nuts, legumes and vegetables.
Many people ‘eat Moroccan’ without even realising it. When is the last time you saw preserved lemons being used in a recipe book or by a Masterchef contestant?
When did you last see harissa served on a burger, sandwich or wrap? All the time, right? How about ras el hanout? You see, many of London’s favourite dishes have some element of a Moroccan accent, which often goes completely unnoticed. So I suppose what we are trying to say is that if you haven’t tried Moroccan food you might want to give it a go as it is an internationally celebrated cuisine and much of the food you might already know and love might implicitly incorporate an element of Moroccan cuisine.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Morocco is quiet about having what is arguably the best cuisine in the world and remember that you don’t have to fly to Morocco to experience its wonders.
We at Zayane serve delicious authentic Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist just a hop, skip and a jump over in Notting Hill!
We’d love to welcome you one day soon and if you’d like to get a taste of Moroccan food before you join us at Zayane, check out our blog’s many recipes!