Review: Morocco Tarabaki Holiday Kitchen at Epcot Festival of the Holidays 2017

Tarabaki arrives in Morocco’s usual spot on the left side of the promenade on the walk into the Pavilion from Japan.

Like most other Holiday Festival Kitchens, each item is a fresh take on flavors that we’ve seen many times in the past. But I suppose with approximately 46.3 Festivals per year, there are only so many different regional flavors that a theme park can offer.

The three food items, cocktail, and coffee with abysmal lighting and shadows.

Grilled Lamb Kefta and Grapes with Julienne of Euro Cucumber, Red Pepper, Pickled Pearl Onions, Harissa and Cilantro Dressing – $7

As we approached Morocco with much lighter pockets and much fuller stomachs than when we started, I joked that we were about to order the seven dollar grapes.

But that may not even be true as we can’t use grapes in the plural sense.

At least as plated, the serving is laughably small for the money – there’s “literally” three small bite-size pieces of charred lamb on the skewer and then half of a small pearl onion and one sliced grape on top of the julienne vegetables. For seven dollars. The good news is the robust lamb flavor with cumin, coriander, pepper, and onion combining with the cool yogurt that keeps each bite nice and juicy. The little bit of sauce adds a spicy, herbal zip. But it’s hard to recommend what amounts to about six bites of food when the full Lamb Shawarma Platter from Tangierine Cafe is ten times more food for just twice the money. Still, if you’re not very hungry and have a snack credit to burn, you could do worse. And perception is everything. The dish looks $4 overpriced on the long slab but would probably only “feel” $2 overpriced if it the same amount of food was served in a small tray. They probably didn’t think they could keep the sauce and other ingredients separate in a tray so they went with the platter. That’s commendable enough for me to award it a 3/10 on value.

Taste: 8/10

Value: 3/10

Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Syrup – $7

This is another tasty dish that’s quite a bit better than what Morocco typically serves at the various Festivals. But it’s still hard to reconcile the $7 price for a single, undersized chicken leg. But it 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.

Taste: 8/10

Value: 4/10

Triangle Honey Briwat with Almond Paste, Rose Water and Toasted Sesame Seeds – $4

If these were fresher, I think they’d be a home run. The briwat is supposed to be a crispy, sweet cookie packed with almonds and a strong cinnamon flavor. And it was all that.  But the cookies were incredibly dry to the point where each bite was difficult to physically swallow. Hopefully they’ll get better over the Festival’s run. Probably not, though.

Taste: There’s promise, but it’s a 2/10 as it stands. The cookies are drier than my sense of humor.

Value: 4/10

The Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail: Sparkling Wine, Orange Liqueur and Cranberry Juice topped with Orange Blossom Water – $8

That’s it in the back right. The Charles de Fere Blanc De Blancs that Tarabaki Holiday Kitchen uses is pretty decent and 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.

Walnut Spiced Coffee with Walnut Liqueur, topped with Cinnamon and Whipped Cream – $7

I thought this was put together better than a lot of the other coffee drinks that cost between $1.50 and $3 more. 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.

Overall, Tarabaki 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.

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