When you fancy a break from tagines, or want to chill out in an air-conditioned interior away from the frazzling heat of Marrakech, look no further than Kechmara. On one of the most peaceful streets in the city, the tree lined Rue de la Liberte in the Nouvelle Ville, this trendy bar is nestled among art galleries and boutique stores.
Kechmara is in easy reach of the attractions in the new town area of the Marrakech, and about a half hour walk from the Djemma el Fna. Even on a weekday afternoon there is a busy atmosphere downstairs but still plenty of tables. The bar is a popular with locals for working lunches and after work drinks, so fills up quickly in the evening hours.
A super cool, ice white décor with black-and-white photographs on the walls captures the hip atmosphere. White plastic scoop chairs let diners lean back and unwind, while a leafy roof terrace provides shady seclusion from the busy roaring traffic just two streets away. During the day the mood is strictly chilled; the light and breezy interior is filled with couples and business types quietly chatting over cocktails. After dark, the lights dim to a moody red, DJs hit the decks or make way for live musicians, and Kechmara’s eclectic music taste shines through. Judging from the fliers, there’s a night for every genre, from reggae to groove and from R&B to house.
The menu shows off the Nouvelle Ville’s French origins, boasting some fantastic European and Western cuisine with an exciting Moroccan twist. The burgers are overstuffed – towering over the crispy french fries – and really distinctive; for example the Indian Burger with chicken breast, chutney and curry sauce. The pasta is perfectly al dente and a real speciality, and the menu is littered with beef, duck and salmon – meats that are fairly scarce on most Moroccan menus. You can get a cheap lunch by ordering the set menu, which changes daily; three courses for Dh140 (from noon till 3.30pm). I ordered penne pasta with sautéed duck, bacon and mushroom in a garlic sauce (Dh105), and was not disappointed; I’ve never seen so much plump, fatty duck, and the creamy sauce was beautiful.
The cocktails are the only disappointment; these are made so strong that alcohol overpowers whatever flavour the drinks may have once had. Marrakech Iced Tea, a minty twist on the Long Island classic, is undeniably the worst; I found it undrinkable, like spiked mouthwash.
Service in Kechmara is in keeping with the cool vibe; the young, pretty waitresses are just the right mix of friendly and uninterested. The food is served quickly, the staff are polite, but it is all a little impersonal, which is great if you want to chill out undisturbed. A boozy lunch here can get a bit expensive when compared with the cafes around the Djemma el Fna – we paid Dh440 for two people including cocktails and bottled water – but I’d say it’s worth it to really relax and enjoy some great food.
Kechmara is a fantastic bar to visit day or night, with its trendy, laid back atmosphere this is a great place to unwind and recover from the heat, dust and stress of Marrakech, or take a break from storming the Nouvelle Ville’s shops.
Information3 rue De La Liberte, Guéliz + 212524422532 Open Monday-Saturday 7.30am to Midnight