Having relocated to larger premises and revamped the popular home-style Moroccan fare, Youssef’s new eatery Argana is a worthy successor to his and Beijing’s first Moroccan restaurant Moro, and a welcome addition to bustling Xingfucun Middle Road.
It was a pleasure to meet a chef so open and keen to introduce us to his national cuisine, which is a treasure chest seldom rummaged through by either Shanghainese or BFICese.
A great injustice stoically endured by Beijingers was righted on September 1st when Face Group finally introduced its Moroccan arm El Wajh (already enjoyed in Shanghai, Pudong AND Jakarta, not that we’re bitter) to the capital.
El Wajh, meaning ‘face’ in Arabic, merges well with the intricately-carved wooden sculptures, rich red and blue walls, low hanging lanterns and billowing drapes of Face’s Indian restaurant Hazara, whose dining space it shares.
It’s unassuming, and that’s kind of the point. Easily missed among the row of brightly-colored store fronts just west of Capital Mansion, this chill, homey Moroccan eatery is a true gem to be discovered.
The whole experience here is a bit of a throwback to the days when a restaurant was less like the clinical eating factories cluttering the San Li Tun area and more of a place for camaraderie and hospitality.
Marrakech is one of my Shanghai stables; great for a date, a big group of friends or even bringing your clients somewhere different.
Owner Judy has done a great job with the decor, transforming the innards of this unassuming building on Fuxing Lu into an Arabian Nights style hideaway.
Set in deepest, darkest Pudong, where expats with big expense accounts live, you will find Face. It is set in a beautifully landscaped villa complex and, as your taxi winds its way along the road, you pass lush rolling green grass and a big blue lake complete with fountain.