Sushi Masterclass Experience at Buddha-Bar Marrakech

Testing out my sushi making skills at Buddha-Bar Marrakech.

They say it takes years of training to become a sushi master. I had only a few hours, but I was determined not to make a fool of myself. The setting? Buddha-Bar Marrakech – the city’s hottest new bar and restaurant.

My Buddha-Bar experience started here, with a delicious dinner of Asian fusion dishes. After enjoying it so much, I was invited back the following day to don an apron, and spend some time learning from the masters. It wasn’t just about sushi, I also had the chance to test out my pastry skills too!

Check out the video of my luxury weekend in Marrakech and scroll down to read all about it!

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I love the buzz of a professional kitchen. Considering the high level of stress, I’m always amazed at how tidy they are. Between 4-7pm, the stark white polished kitchens of Buddha-Bar were a hive of activity, with sushi rice being prepped, ice cream being churned and pastry being baked. Piles of sliced spring onion and strips of avocado lay ready to be rolled into sushi, while across the room the deep fat fryer was crisping up some spring rolls. The air was rich with the scent of ginger, garlic and chilli, and several sous-chefs were busy on prep duty. It’s easy to lose sight of how much labour goes into creating one gourmet dish, but as I stood there, I appreciated the previous night’s meal even more.

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Shake it, Shake it! New Mixology Festival launches at Buddha-Bar Marrakech

Buddha Bar Marrakech Spring Cocktails

Fancy shaking up some cocktails at a brand new mixology festival?

In January, I popped over to Marrakech for a weekend of sunshine and pampering. After an exhausting Christmas (my 4 nieces and nephews sure kept me busy!) I was in need of a few days of relaxation, good food and the company of one of my best friends. It certainly hit the spot.

Royal Palm Hotel Marrakech

Enjoying the pool at Royal Palm Hotel Marrakech
Enjoying the pool at Royal Palm Hotel Marrakech

Forget New York, Marrakech is my new favourite city that never sleeps. From its international film festival every December to Marrakech Bienniale (it successful arts festival) in the spring, there’s plenty going on.

As I wrote in this blog, Buddha-Bar Marrakech was a great find in January. Serving some of the best Asian-inspired food I’d ever eaten, and with a top team of mixologists, I ate and drank my way merrily through the weekend! Good news, to add to Marrakech’s constant stream of events and festivals, Buddha-Bar are launching a Mixology & Cocktail Festival.

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REVIEW: Buddha-Bar, Marrakech

Buddha Bar Marrakech Terrace

Time to check out Buddha-Bar Marrakech.

*DISCLAIMER: I worked on a sponsored campaign with Buddha-Bar in 2016, for which I produced video, blog and social media content about Marrakech and the restaurant. Sadly Buddha-Bar Marrakech broke their contract and only paid me for half of my work and time. After I threatened legal action, they stopped returning my emails and calls. I have left the content live, as I was proud of the work I did, but I find their behaviour utterly disrespectful, and would never return there out of principle.*

Towards the end of 2015 I spent a few weeks travelling around Morocco. While I’ve visited the country a few times before, this was more of an immersive trip – sleeping in camps in the Sahara, visiting local markets high in the Atlas Mountains, and finishing with the full Marrakech experience – snake charmers, hammams and more! I thoroughly enjoyed it and hoped it wouldn’t be long before I returned.

Cheap flights and guaranteed warm weather make Marrakech a great break from the UK, particularly for those craving winter sun. With a free weekend in January, I couldn’t resist but snap up some bargain fights and pop over for a dose of vitamin D, great food and a bit of pampering.

Buddha-Bar is Marrakech’s newest opening. As a brand, Buddha-Bar is synonymous with style, music and great Asian-inspired food. With restaurants in Paris, London, Beirut, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Kiev and many more, it was only a matter of time before Marrakech was added to its mini-empire.

Check out the video of my luxury weekend in Marrakech, or scroll down to read more about Buddha-Bar Marrakech. 

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Don’t be fooled by the name. Buddha-Bar is more than a bar, it aims to take you on a journey – through its music, décor and menu. Not just another night out, it’s longing to be a memorable experience, ideally one that you’ll choose to return to time and time again. Only a handful of brands have achieved this globally – Pacha perhaps, and high-end hotels such as the Four Seasons.

January is supposedly a low season in Marrakech, but with constant traffic, and Jamaa El Fna square as packed as ever, it wasn’t particularly noticeable.

Buddha-Bar Marrakech sits in the chic Hivernage area. L’hiver being French for winter, the district made its name as the place the wealthy French holidayed during winter. Home to the majority of the city’s top boutiques, 5 star hotels (including Es Saadi Gardens and Resort where I stayed last time), it’s the area both to see, and be seen in. With Buddha-Bar’s signature branding, latticework, lanterns and a swanky red carpet, I couldn’t WAIT to get inside – particularly with the bass of the deep house soundtrack pulsating from within.

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Surprisingly, and perhaps bravely, this is one of Marrakech’s largest restaurants. With seating for around 450, it’s an enormous space. Yet despite high ceilings and masses of seating, it doesn’t feel cavernous. Quite the opposite in fact – with its dark mood lighting, ambience and personable service, there’s a rather magical feeling of intimacy.

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Once through the enormous ornate doors, there was one person in my eyeline… Hello Buddha! Transported from Indonesia, the 4 metre high figurine sits proudly with grand illuminated staircases cascading down either side.

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The building is cleverly divided into several areas. From the main dining room, to the lounges, salons, private dining rooms, high tables and bar area. While each has its own distinct vibe, the colour scheme of blue, red, gold and black creates a feeling of unity. Oriental patterns, lush silk and plush velvet all work to create a mysterious, sophisticated restaurant.

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REVIEW: Maze Restaurant, London

Crab salad at Maze Restaurant, Mayfair

One of the top restaurants in London, It’s time to review lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Restaurant in Grosvenor Square.

From Petrus in Knightsbridge and Plane Food in Heathrow Airport, to restaurants in Vegas and Singapore, Gordon Ramsay’s empire has risen to 30 restaurants across the globe. They’ve been awarded a handful of Michelin stars, and are a must-visit for many foodies.

I was excited to return to one of my favourites – Maze Restaurant in Grosvenor Square. It’s a glamorous, gourmet restaurant in the heart of Mayfair with a varied menu of fine-dining dishes and sushi.

Maze London review - Lounge area
Maze London review – Lounge area

It was my mum’s birthday and we were an awkward party of 5 that included not only a vegetarian, but a 10-month old baby. Yes, surprise – this sophisticated restaurant welcomes babies!

Maze London – Review

We started the afternoon in the relaxed bar area enjoying the bright sunshine while sipping on prosecco and indulging in scallop canapés. The seared scallops were sandwiched between thin lime slices, creating the flavour of a deconstructed ceviche.

Scallop canapes at Maze Restaurant, Mayfair
Scallop canapes at Maze Restaurant, Mayfair
Vegetarian sushi canape at Maze Restaurant, Mayfair
Vegetarian sushi canape at Maze Restaurant, Mayfair

We were shown to our table and far from hiding us away, my baby niece was seated in a high chair at the head of the table, where she rose to the occasion and behaved impeccably for the full three hours we were there.

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REVIEW: Es Saadi Gardens and Resort, Marrakech, Morocco

Time to check out Es Saadi Gardens and Resort in Marrakech.

After an adventurous week stargazing in the Sahara, riding camels and exploring kasbahs (check out the videos), I was ready for a few days of relaxation in Marrakech. I checked into a plush suite at Es Saadi Gardens & Resort in the upmarket Hivernage neighbourhood, and enjoyed a taste of the five star lifestyle.

With huge gates, flags blowing in the wind and elaborate fountains at the entrance, this resort certainly had something to shout about! Every December, stars of the big screen descend on Marrakech for the city’s prestigious film festival, and this is one of the resorts they return to time and time again.

 Over the next 48 hours I wandered the pristine gardens, basked in the Moroccan sunshine by the pool, perused the impressive art collection and was thoroughly pampered in the spa.

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