“ Type: Moroccan / Address: 1a North Parade / Bath / BA1 1LF / England / Tel: 01225 466437 „
Wandering around Bath late one Saturday afternoon, there seemed to be coffee shops at every turn but not much sign of restaurants. A visit to the Tourist Information Office solved the problem, as they gave us a leaflet showing a variety of eateries situated in the city centre. We narrowed it down to two, and soon found ourselves outside the Cafe du Globe, described as a Moroccan and international restaurant. It was about 5.15pm and a group of people just in front of us were told that it was too late for afternoon tea but that they were welcome to have dinner. When our turn came we thought the proprietor, a Mr Benjelloun, was telling us that we would have to wait for a table until 7pm, but fortunately it turned out that we would have to vacate the table by 7pm. That suited us, so in we went.
The restaurant is quite small, and there was just one table for four free to one side. Both tables and chairs are of very sturdy dark wood. The chairs have leather seats and the tables have inlaid square panels that are painted gold. Slender candles, carnations in bud and cruet sets decorate the tables. Menus in folders were immediately handed out to us by a young waitress. She soon returned to take our drinks order. One of my sons ordered a draught Stella Artois at £3.50; the rest of us chose soft drinks - mineral water, cranberry juice and orange juice - at £2 each.
Starters include traditional Moroccan mezze, warm grilled goat's cheese, felafel, and home-made harira soup amongst others. We decided, however, to go straight for the main course. I ordered vegetarian couscous (£10.25) and my elder son picked the Cafe du Globe brochettes (£14.95). His partner and my younger son decided to order from the Mexican section of the menu, one going for chicken fajitas (£12.25) and the other for combo (chicken and beef) fajitas (£12.95).
It was a little while, but not too long, before our food was served. We sat admiring the décor of the restaurant with its low lighting, wooden fretwork, Moroccan lampshades and mirror frames and a carved book shelf. We weren't quite so keen on the painting of two covered ladies, but each to his own taste. Middle Eastern music is played to add to the atmosphere.
The waitress brought the fajitas first. The tortillas (four in number) are served in a covered earthenware pot alongside a side salad with grated cheese, guacamole and sour cream. The meat and sliced pepper filling is brought afterwards, sizzling and steaming. My son's brochettes with tiny roast potatoes and salad garnish looked delicious. My couscous came in a covered decorative ceramic dish on a thick wicker mat. The waitress removed the lid and brought a separate plate of accompaniments. This consisted of a small bowl of jus with a few sliced carrots alongside two tiny lidded pots. One contained cooked raisins and the other the spicy harissa. The jus felt only just warm as I held the bowl to pour it over the couscous, but that didn't matter as the main dish was piping hot. I sprinkled all the raisins on but decided to forego the harissa. What surprised me was the mixture of English and Mediterranean vegetables: carrot, potato, parsnip, aubergine and courgette all jostled alongside each other with the couscous, garnished with parsley. We all agreed that the food was excellent. I finished mine and felt full but not heavy.
Plates were soon cleared away and dessert menus brought. My elder son and his partner ordered Moroccan mint tea with baclavas (£4.85). I considered toffee apple fudge cake (£4) or orange salad but didn't really have room for a dessert so confined myself to a decaffeinated coffee (£1.95). My younger son was content to finish sipping his beer (but he did have some goodies from the San Francisco Fudge Factory of Bath in his backpack for later!) The mint tea comes in a tiny metal teapot topped with a delightful tea cosy in the shape of what might be a whirling dervish. The waitress pours the tea from a great height into a very small glass. The baclavas were served on one plate with a sprig of mint, and I think there were eight pieces altogether, six of which were considerably smaller than the other two. My son and his partner had been to a Moroccan restaurant in London a few days before, and although they said the London one was slightly better overall, they commented that the baclavas at the Cafe du Globe were fresher and tastier. I had one of the little ones and certainly enjoyed it with my coffee.
Our total bill came to £71.55 to which we added a tip as we were all happy with the food and the service. We chatted a little to the proprietor, a very friendly man who told me that he reads reviews of his restaurant every Sunday morning and does his utmost to address any criticisms. I assured him I would be writing a favourable review.
Toilets are situated in the basement. Tea lights are placed at the side of each step, and at the bottom of the stairs are showcases with Cafe du Globe pots, jewellery and other gifts for sale. There is just one toilet for ladies and one for gents; each has a mirror with a Moroccan frame and a metal washbasin with a decorative border. The ladies was clean and well equipped with soap and toilet tissue. Unfortunately there is no disabled toilet on the premises.
The Cafe du Globe is situated very close to Bath Abbey and the River Avon. It is only about five minutes' walk from the railway station. It was interesting to see the mixture of British and North African or Middle Eastern people among the clientele, so the restaurant does seem to have a wide appeal. The menu might have been a little more varied, but the inclusion of Mexican dishes means that if members of a group don't like Moroccan food, there are a few other choices. There are special offers for two-course lunches and dinners which are detailed on the website. This is probably not a place for a family with young children, but I am sure afternoon tea would be pleasant there if you do not want a full meal. Although I'm always on the lookout for new eateries, I would be very happy to return to the Cafe du Globe.
Cafe du Globe
1A North Parade
Tel. 01225 466437
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