Meet the owner of a Moroccan restaurant coming to Dereham
- Credit: Archant
As I meet Ali Guenaoui beneath the scaffolding of his new restaurant he cannot hide his smile, the successful Moroccan restaurateur is opening new premises in Dereham next month and he cannot wait for locals to sample his fare.
Mr Guenaoui, 53, is moving to Dereham from Wymondham, where his 22 year association with the town comes to an end this week, as he closes the doors on his Marrakech Fusion restaurant in Market Street.
'I had been in Wymondham a long time, but I also know Dereham well as I used to have a coffee shop here. The town is getting busier so when I knew I wanted a fresh challenge, opening a restaurant here seemed like the obvious choice.'
Mr Guenaoui is hoping to employ some local staff to work in his new restaurant, also to be called Marrakech Fusion, he said: 'I think there will be about eight to 10 staff in total, some part time. I have already interviewed some people. I would like to employ a chef from the town who has a passion for creating something exciting. I want people to get involved in all areas of the kitchen, I hope my passion rubs off on them'.
Formerly the Rusty Tap pub, the new restaurant, situated on Norwich Street, which will seat around 60 diners, is having its chimney stack restored after a new fireplace was opened up.
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There are also plans to create a relaxing lounge area and offer shisha smoking - something very common in Morocco - once the restaurant is established.
Diners in Dereham could be in for a treat if reviews are to be believed. According the website Tripadvisor, 89pc of those that ate in Mr Guenaoui's Wymondham restaurant, left 4 or 5 star reviews. The online guide had his eatery as the fourth best place to dine, out of 33 establishments in the town.
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Many of Mr Guenaoui's Wymondham customers seem willing to travel to Dereham to continue sampling his Moroccan menu.
Comments on the restaurant's facebook page included: 'We will certainly come and support you in Dereham' and 'try and stop me'.
'It is touching to hear what the people of Wymondham have said, I am passionate about creating good food and a nice atmosphere. I always treat my customers like friends and family and I have got to know people very well in Wymondham, I hope the people of Dereham become friends too.'