MUST DO: Moroccan roof-top medina

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The Queen of Hoxton is importing a little slice of Marrakech to its rooftop bar this winter


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Tell stories round the fire pit…..Photo: Graham Turner
Now that it’s starting to get (a teensy bit) chillier, the idea of balmy Marrakech is something of a blissful proposition.

So we couldn’t resist trekking up at least a couple of dozen flights of steps to the roof of the Queen of Hoxton last night.

Always boasting a venerable glass-and-steel view, it’s just been transformed into a quasi Moroccan ‘medina’ for the winter, complete with Moorish-inspired archways, a convincing canvas dining tent, giant lantern snugs, and the scents of spices and shisha. 

There are even cast iron fire pits ablaze in all their atmospheric glow. It’s pretty mesmerizing, in fact.


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An intoxicating juxtaposition. Photo: Graham Turner
The food and drink offer is in keeping with the theme: from a short menu, there are hearty lamb tagines, vegan mezze bowls or – as we tried – a tasty chicken shawarma burger, made with thigh for extra tenderness (and lashings of harissa, hummus and baba ganoush).

For something lightly boozy to wash it down with we recommend the Casablancan Mint Tea (gently loaded with a measure of gin to keep your spirits up). Need a stronger kick? Try the Medina Delight Martini, which pairs Black Cow vodka – made entirely from the milk of grass grazed cows in West Dorset – with a rose liquer, lemon juice and rose water: fragrant and suitably mysterious.

If it’s freezing or pouring with rain, shelter in here. Photo: Graham Turner
Fans of the Ochre City will also lap up a playful recreation of the Jardin Majorelle (also known as the Yves Saint Laurent Garden), with its cobalt blue walls, cacti, and canopies of twinkling fairy lights.

And the juxtaposition of Moroccan colours with the city’s stark towerblocks is, of course, Insta-gold. 

In short? Well worth (climbing) those flights.

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From 26th October, 4pm-10pm daily until March 2018, free entry. Queen of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Rd, EC2A. More here.

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