Dinner – Thursday, October 3, 2019
It had been some time since I’d visited Mourad, and I was starting to get that nagging itch. I booked my dinner there, and then saw the announcement about Aziza’s revival a week later – it was meant to be. I’m still as captivated by the restaurant’s design as the first time I walked into it – they really created a timeless elegance (indeed, very reminiscent of some of my favourite riads in Morocco). On past visits, I’ve alternated between the tasting menu and large-format dishes – since there were only two of us tonight, we opted for the former.
A medley of bites to start – the Kusshi oysters (bottom right) were a highlight, as were the rice crackers topped with lamb tartare, bottarga and Fresno chili (top right).
Duck liver mousse
Warqa, chives, strawberry powder
Wow! The mousse had fantastic texture, and the combination with strawberry was classic. The shell of warqa pastry (essentially feuille-de-bric) was delicate and just thick enough to hold everything in. A superbly executed bite.
Grilled citrus, gelée, sea lettuce, gold leaf
Rather interesting – the dish ate like rice pudding with caviar… not a bad thing at all. The portion was generous, and my palate actually felt a little fatigued after finishing it. Talk about first-world problems!
Watermelon rind, buttermilk, bottarga
Almond, Moroccan milk, argan oil, gooseberry
Couscous, uni, smoked trout roe
I have always loved the fluffy couscous at Mourad, and this dish was no exception. Here, it was completely hidden under a blanket of roe and uni. Fantastic.
Basteeya, peach jam
Aged squab, Moyer prune, hazelnuts
Very nicely cooked – we nibbled every last piece of meat off the bone. I am not a big fan of prunes, but the high sugar content made this one a delight.
Short rib, baharat, cabbage
Plum, yuzu, grains of paradise
Sesame, cardamom, creme fraiche
Again, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that Mourad is one of the most underrated restaurant in the city – the menu is creative and always technically sound. Dinner here puts many other places to shame, at a price that is extremely reasonable. With Aziza reopening, I’m curious to see if changes come to Mourad (the restaurant), now that there will be another outlet for Mourad’s (the man) passion.