Hélène Darroze

Something is always happening at Royal Mansour Marrakech. This time, it’s the arrival of the six-time Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze, who takes the reins of La Grande Brasserie. It’s THE new gourmet, classy, and generous restaurant in the red city. We tested it before it opened, and we tell all. 


Just like a big family meal

Let it be known, La Grande Brasserie at Royal Mansour is likely to be always bustling. Everything is enticing, from breakfast (still salivating over the XXL chocolate-hazelnut croissants) to dinner, including lunch (special mention for the traditional Sunday family chicken) and tea time. All of this is imagined and orchestrated by the superstar and multi-award-winning chef Hélène Darroze, who has adopted the timeless conventions of traditional Parisian brasseries. How? By honoring generous, obviously high-quality cuisine, as well as the ceremony around service. Here, one can only imagine joyful meals, large tables on the terrace, tea by the fireplace, and even a wine tasting at the sommelier’s table. Here, you can live it up. You will succumb to a piece of cheese gougère spread with house-made Espelette pepper butter. You will melt for black rice with sautéed squid and duck chorizo, Hélène Darroze’s signature dish. Top of your meal with a Norwegian omelet– and don’t forget the spice-scented Moroccan madeleine! It’s nice for eating and for sharing a nice moment. That’s the essence of the place and the chef’s trademark.

From Landes to Royal Mansour Marrakech

Yes, you know Hélène Darroze. Because you are a gourmet and have surely already tried one of her restaurants in Paris, London, Provence, or even, for the real connoisseurs, in the family inn in Landes at the beginning of her career. Or, like many, you have been following her on your screens since 2015 on Top Chef.. While she prefers to present herself as a cook, she is first and foremost one of the pioneering chefs of her generation. Born in Mont-de-Marsan, she grew up in a family of restaurateurs and still garners respect for the quality and freshness of products from there. While she thought of pursuing a career in hotel management – she graduated from business school – she quickly turned to the kitchen and started her career with Alain Ducasse. It was he who pushed her towards haute cuisine. At the age of 32, she opened her first restaurant in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, now Marsan, as a nod to her Basque origins and which earned 2 Michelin stars. She then went on to further success: First in London with her restaurant, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, launched in 2008 and for which she earned 3 more stars; in Paris in 2018 with Joìa by Hélène Darroze. She serves bistronomic cuisine that offers both grandmother’s recipes and signature cocktails. In Provence she has  also been at the head of the gastronomic restaurant “Hélène Darroze à la Villa Coste ” since 2021, which earned yet another star. In 2023, she opened Joìa Bun, a street food concept with flavors from the Southwest, and finally this fall, La Grande Brasserie at Royal Mansour Marrakech. In the coming months, she will also take over the Grande Table Marocaine of the palace. This is a challenge that is “close to her heart”, specifically, immersing herself in Moroccan culinary tradition to offer authentic dishes made with as many local products as possible, which is similar to what she offers on her new French menu.

Creative, gourmet, and always close to the land            Hélène Darroze

Let’s talk about this authentic cuisine. At La Grande Brasserie, 90% of the products are local, sourced from nearby, and respect seasons and the environment. Better yet, she has made the garden of Royal Mansour Marrakech her main supplier of flowers and aromatic herbs: basil, verbena, mint, pansies, fennel, etc. Fish and shellfish come directly from Essaouira and Oualidia. The meat comes from Doukkala farms. All this contributes to  a menu that is both gourmet and sophisticated, generous and refined. And remember the motto: sharing! For lunch, the daily specials are offered according to the weekly schedule and end on Sundays with the famous roast chicken. This is a true French tradition and surely  a little nostalgia  for the chef herself !

“I take the time to develop real relationships with local producers and discover incredible richness, for fruits and vegetables, lamb, fish, and seafood, of course.”

Celery root remoulade with hazelnuts and fresh herbs, line-caught sea bass cooked in a pressure cooker  with coco beans (we’ll show it to you soon in the next episode of our web show, Come, I’ll Take You),  and piqillo peppers and clams: that’s what awaits you on the XXL menu of La Grande Brasserie. And above all, make room for dessert. For our part, we fell for the Armagnac baba, super-sized  (of course) and offered by the slice. But we already know that the profiteroles, the mille-feuille, or even the homemade ice cream balls served on little chariots  will tempt you, because here pleasure is a ritual. 


Tasting begins with the eyes                                      Hélène Darroze

If, for Hélène Darroze, cooking is a way to bring culinary traditions to life, tasting must begin with a first sight –and  we got an eyeful!  So, a whole ceremony accompanies diners from their arrival to their departure. This theatrical dimension organized by the chef and her teams sets the tone for this culinary experience. The idea is to arouse surprise and then wonder, to waken the taste buds with the smells emanating from the carts and appeal to sight with the colors of the creations. From the carving, singing, tableside service, and even the bread cart, everything happens before your eyes. It is all designed as a tribute to the French art of living. This is true even in the porcelain table service, designed exclusively for La Grande Brasserie–o chic and without fuss. We will come back, and we bet you will too.

Picture (c) : Royal Mansour

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