Fez is best known as the birthplace of Tommy Cooper’s hat. Oh come on, we were going to have to mention it at some point, let’s get it over with early on. The better travelled among you will know that there’s much more to Morocco’s second city than red felt headgear, and the newly-opened Restaurant n°7 is another good reason to look further than Marrakesh – Fez is known as the ‘Athens of Africa’ after all.
The city is blessed with a well-preserved Arabic old quarter, in which you can find the UNESCO-protected medina. With all this history dominating Fez, Restaurant n°7 restaurateurs Bruno Ussel (the food guy) and Stephen di Renza (the design guy) wisely decided to pay homage to the past in their design strategy, but stopped well short of a cheesy film-set type mock-up. Created in an 18th Century medina house, n°7 has plenty of traditional features that give a sense of place, but in using a minimalist approach di Renza has allowed space for the display of large modern photographic works by Keeichi Tahara and Patrizia Guerresi.
Colour, or lack of it, also plays an important role in the restaurant atmosphere, with a black, white and grey canvas sparingly punctured by the odd bit of foliage greenery or clothing highlighted by photographic manipulation.