If I can give one piece of advice about visiting Marrakech, it’s to be aware of the orange juice racket in the central Jemaa el-Fnaa square in the Medina. There’s two elements to the OJ racket that’s designed to hurt travellers – one is that when you ask for an orange juice (4 Moroccan Dirhams), the seller will give you a blood orange juice and demand that you pay them 10 Dirhams. They won’t take no for an answer, and you’ll quickly be surrounded by their mates demanding that you pay for the more expensive juice.
The second element is that even if you manage to get a proper orange juice, it won’t be fresh. The seller would have made it earlier and diluted it with water or ice beforehand and given that this water and ice will be straight out of a Marrakech tap, it’s a one-way street to diarrhoea-town for most travellers!
To avoid all this, do yourself a favour and drop into Kaowa Snack and Juice Bar when you have a craving for a fresh juice. While it’s further away and outside the walls of the Medina, it’s also conveniently located right opposite the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. That means that after you get your freshly squeezed juice in a hygienic takeaway cup, you can take it into the beautiful gardens and sit back and relax with a cool drink in a stunning and quiet location.
There’s outdoor seating for all those who want to soak up the winter sunshine. Marrakech enjoys fine weather throughout winter with average temps of around 18 degrees, which was positively balmy for us after having made our way over most of frozen continental Europe!
There’s a wide range of juices, smoothies and milkshakes on the menu, categorised under headings such as “Les Tops”, “Les Orientaux” and “Les Detox”. I chose the Top Minceau known as a slimming juice – cucumber, apple, pineapple and fresh mint. While the combination looks less than appetising with its muddy brown colour, it’s the perfect refreshing mix to have in hot and sunny Morocco. K’s Palmeraie smoothie of dates, almond milk, banana and cinnamon was much more of a sweeter drink reminiscent of a meal-replacement shake rather than a refreshing juice.
I ordered the Couscous de Lala Rachia (vegetarien aux legumes) – there are chicken, mince and mixed meat options available if desired! Served in a little individual tajine, the dish was unfortunately quite disappointing. The cous cous was drier than it should be, the vegetables weren’t cooked evenly (the turnip was still quite hard while the zucchini was much too soft) and the sauce lacked depth of flavour. Unfortunately I wouldn’t order this again.
K ordered the dish of the day which was a Quiche aux Blettes Chevre – a goat’s cheese quiche with a small garden salad on the side. This was a much better choice – light, healthy and simple, a refreshing change when compared to the heavier cous cous and tajine meals you usually get in Marrakech. The quiche was ready-made and displayed in the cabinet (alongside a few other grab-and-go sandwiches, paninis and snacks), so it could make for the perfect light meal to take into the Jardin Majorelle for an impromptu picnic lunch!
We finished off our meal by sharing the Crumble Aux Fruits de Saison which was a bit overly sweet with the amount of sugar syrup used in the fruit mix…which was hardly ‘seasonal’ as it just seemed to be made of apples! I don’t mind an apple crumble, but I was hoping for more variety given the way it was advertised. I wish we’d gone for a more reliable off-the-shelf dessert like carrot cake with argan oil or cheesecake with dates. A crumble really should be made fresh each day, and this crumble tasted like it had been made several days earlier and just stored in the plastic cups.
The highlight of Kaowa Snack and Juice Bar is definitely the fresh juices and smoothies – a delicious and reliable liquid treat in Marrakech that won’t try and cheat you like the others by wilfully overcharging or mixing in tap water! The food is a bit more hit and miss – the cold ready-made foods on display seem to be a better bet than ordering off the hot menu.
I think that if I were to visit Marrakech and the Jardin Majorelle again, I wouldn’t bother sitting in Kaowa having a hot meal. I’d rather buy myself a fresh juice and a freshly made sandwich from their to-go section and take it into the gardens for a more relaxed picnic lunch! I’d suggest you do the same.
Kaowa Snack and Juice Bar is located opposite the Jardin Majorelle at 34 Rue Yves St Laurent in Marrakech, Morocco.