Sunday, December 19, 2010

One night in Casablanca

Sorry for my shaky video recording. I blame the wine..

Obviously we had to take a tour to Rick's Café in Casablanca, a restaurant-piano bar recreated with inspiration from the mythical bar of Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in the Casablanca movie from 1942. Built in a beautiful Moroccan courtyard style mansion, where Kathy Kriger, the American owner, has her home just above the restaurant, just like Rick in the movie.

We had a drink with Kathy who told us the story about the place and her life and projects in Morocco. She is a former American diplomat and entrepreneur who fell in love with Morocco and decided to leave the government and the administrative world and instead opened up the legendary Rick's bar in the heart of Casablanca. The place was established seven years ago and have naturally received a fantastic welcoming from both visitors and locals alike. Definitely interesting that an American women, of all, are able to establish such a project in Morocco and tells quite something about the modern position and tolerance of the country.

The architecture and the interior reminds utterly of the settings in the movie with the balconies overlooking the courtyard, the white stone walls and curved arches, heavy wooden doors, the central spiral staircase and the old piano in the middle of the restaurant. To give a final touché reminiscent of the movie: the song As time goes by is frequently played and was sounding from the piano just when we entered the restaurant. Giving an instant flashback to the classical film.

Soulful live music with a mix of 40's and 50's jazz and French chansons was played by the house pianist Issam Chabaa (to the right on the photo with Kathy and me) at the 1930's Pleyel piano along with his musicians - a repertoire and feel which was above any expectations. Definitely a delightful dinner accompanied by an excellent musical performance and well worth the extra journey for. If you're about to visit, make sure to book a table in advance as the place tends to be very busy. This is a place we'll definitely get back to when in Casablanca again. /Taru

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