We continue from L’Chaim.
Sapphire, which is apparently a Holiday Kitchen and not a stripper, arrives in Morocco’s usual spot on the left side of the promenade on the walk into the Pavilion from Japan.
Sapphire delivers a different take on last year’s Lamb Kefta and the “Sfenj” replaces last year’s Honey Briwat. The Kasbah Prestige Red Wine is new, while the Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail returns along with the Walnut Spiced Coffee, the “Chermoula Chicken Drum,” and your 9,000th opportunity to finally order half of someone else’s bottle of Casa beer at an Epcot festival.
Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab with Whole Wheat Pita, Cucumber, Olives, Tomatoes, Mint Yogurt Sauce and Harissa-cilantro Dressing — $8
Morocco is typically a mixed bag at the various Festivals and last year’s Lamb Kefta was a big miss on value with an incredibly small portion served for the $7 ask. That’s it above with the three small bites of lamb coming in about the same size as the two grape halves that were served alongside it.
This year, there’s at least three times as much skewered lamb and it’s spiced deliciously with cumin, coriander, pepper, and onion combining with the cool yogurt underneath that helps keep each bite nice and juicy. The Harissa-Cilantro Dressing is a new arrival – it adds less of a kick than you might expect given the vivid orange color, but the pepper and spice add another layer of flavor that we don’t usually see from Morocco given its reliance on the herbal flavors of its various tzatziki-esque sauces. The accompanying Whole Wheat Pita adds heft, but seems somewhat out of place underneath the skewer. You can pull off little pieces of the flatbread as you go to town on the meat separately, but then you’re going to be left with all of the olives, cucumbers, and onions. You can also remove the skewer and roll everything up into a tasty wrap. We met things somewhere in the middle by pulling off a little bit of pita, spooning on some olives and other accompaniments, and then putting a tasty bite of lamb in the middle before throwing it in Bricker’s general direction and/or our mouths.
The eight-dollar ask is on the high side, but it’s a great use of a snack credit and those paying cash should also find value versus most other offerings.
Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Syrup — $8
While this dish retains the same name and description as last year, the portion size has also increased, now arriving with two chicken drumsticks instead of one.
Above is last year’s, which might enjoy a more attractive plating.
Fortunately, the chicken still tastes fantastic – the parsley, cilantro, garlic, and pepper contrast really nicely with the zesty lemon in the chermoula. The sweet, slightly sour apples sing even brighter up against the spice of the Moroccan herb sauce. And then you’ve got almonds for an earthy crunch and Brussels Sprouts in a sweet, tangy glaze to bring everything home. Very good, though I think the Lamb Kefta presents a little more value given the fact that the meat is typically more expensive.
“Sfenj” – Warm Beignets with Cream, Cinnamon Sugar, Toasted Almonds and Chocolate Sauce — $5
I pronounced last year’s Honey Briwat “drier than my sense of humor,” which means we’re basically in Atacama Desert territory. Had I known that their replacement, these warm little beignets, were going to be so delicious, I would have spent some more time trying to make them look the part in the picture. But they’re everything that you’d want in a plump little pastry with a soft, chewy exterior holding in the lusciously sweet cream inside. The sprinkle of cinnamon adds some spice along with the powdered sugar and some toasted almonds for a little bit of a crunch. The chocolate sauce underneath pushes these things even further over the top. They might be a dollar overpriced given the fact that they combine to be a total of about six bites, but they’re so tasty that I don’t think you’ll care.
The Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail: Sparkling Wine, Orange Liqueur and Cranberry Juice topped with Orange Blossom Water – $8
The drink is made up of about 80% sparkling wine, 10% orange liqueur, and 10% orange blossom water, making for an easier drinking experience than your typical, thicker mimosa. It’s one of the better values at the Festival and something I could drink seven or eight or two hundred of if given the opportunity. I’d recommend it over just about any of the other wines available.
Walnut Spiced Coffee with Walnut Liqueur and topped with Cinnamon and Whipped Cream — $8
The drink has a wonderful, spicy holiday aroma and the walnut liqueur offers a natural warmth to the bitter coffee, which is sweetened up quite a bit with the thick whipped cream. The heavy sprinkle of fresh cinnamon helps balance everything out. Very good and one of my choices for best hot drinks at the Festival.
Last year, I said, “Overall, Tarabaki (now Sapphire) would be recommended a lot higher if the food servings were doubled or the prices were $2 lower. But the drinks are relatively good this year and lines should be short, making this a compelling stop.”
Well, Sapphire has done just about that, increasing the amount of lamb served on the skewer by at least a hundred percent and doubling the number of chicken drumsticks served as part of that dish. The drinks are still well above average and the dessert is incredible this year as well. Yukon is still your best overall bet at the Festival of the Holidays, but Morocco brings it much more than they have in the past. It’s a smart stop.