Sunday, October 01, 2017

Mourad & Akiko’s Restaurant

It had been a while since I had indulged in some fancy food at San Francisco and I wasn’t going to let this chance go. First, the stand-out Mourad which continues to earn its Michelin star.  Like the Michelin guide puts it, "Chef Lahlou is at his best when reinterpreting modern Moroccan cuisine with ingredients such as za’atar, harissa, and dates.”

Mourad has striking interiors with its soaring ceilings, glowing columns, and Persian motifs on its flooring tiles. The chef’s menu was also perfect for me, and I waited in anticipation as they quickly brought in my glass of wine and the amuse that started me off on a modern Moroccan culinary journey.

First came the Caviar on melon flavoured with verbena and the Oyster with bits of apple and cilantro in grapefruit juice.

Next the Squid in fermented tomato, almond and Moroccan milk.  This was was particularly interesting on the palate.

On the menu next was the delightful Salmon that came with hints of fennel, blood orange and olive.  I liked the balance of this dish with its crisper caramelised outer layer and the highly flavours inside.

The dish celebrating Corn came with Shrimp, peppers and tomato.  Another delightful dish!

The Short Rib followed, wonderfully braised in black garlic, turnip and plum.  Loved this one too.

The Couscous that was served along with the Short Rib was among the best I have had with a warm butter taste.

Another interesting Moroccan amuse followed after which came the Tisane tea with mint and verbena.  The dessert was a melon ice-cream and chocolates.

While fine-dining is increasingly expensive in San Francisco, I thought this dinner was worth every penny.  The service was impeccable throughout; my servers were efficient, friendly and the courses came on to the table at the time I expected them. They packed a fresh copy of the menu along with some chocolates for me to take away too.

The other dining experience I was looking forward to was at Akiko’s Restaurant. This one is an up-and-coming sushi restaurant that is trying to break through to the ranks of the best in this city.  The first part of dining here is to navigate yourself to the right place!  First, there are two Akiko’s in SF; this one is Akiko’s Restaurant & Bar.  Second, this restaurant doesn’t have a signboard at all (in the best traditions of some good places in Japan).

In addition to a platter of sashimi at the sushi bar, I had also ordered a Saba Shio-Yaki, crisply seared mackerel with chives and ponzu-diakon.

Overall, from my lunch experience and the passion of the chefs who work the kitchen and sushi bar, I can tell this restaurant is going to go a long way.  I am going to be back here again in my next trip.

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