It is known as the first Moroccan restaurant to receive a Michelin Star, I wouldn’t celebrate it as that. Some of the Tasting Menu courses seemed New American and I was more intrigued with Mourad’s creativity and techniques than I was with his “New Moroccan” flavours. Aziza is ahead of the game and almost before its time.
It received James Beard Award nominations for the restaurant, Chef Mourad, and his Pastry Chef Melissa Chou. The restaurant and team is still on the rise and it’s a strong collaboration. The dessert menu should not be missed and Melissa’s talent is contributing to Aziza’s 1-Michelin Star rating.
The Tasting Menu was riskier and more exciting than the a la carte menu, and without trying the Tasting Menu I would have missed out. It wouldn’t have been bad, but I wouldn’t have been surprised and my dining experience would not have reached full potential. The flavours of Morocco were not always obvious, but the food still good.
Mourad’s personality came out in the Tasting Menu. His creativity is best expressed in his Tasting Menu and I wasn’t expecting it to get as intense as it did. He is a real chef who is passionate about cooking and the menu was progressive, artistic, and innovative to Moroccan cuisine.
Working with the highest quality ingredients is already half his work done, but to be innovative yet respectful of each ingredient is no easy task. Blaine creates a story through presentation, aromas and garnishes, and the menu really sings in tune with the season. He delivers a memorable dining experience.
There is only one Chef’s Tasting Menu and they space out the orders and it feels like they are cooking just for you. This is small scale cooking so there is little room for error. They do have front of the house staff, but often it was the cooks, chefs and Blaine himself coming out to serve dishes.
It is one of the most non-pretentious fine dining experiences I’ve had, and the quaint atmosphere makes it even more memorable than the perfect dinner time sunset and waterfront view. It is impressive to see an unassuming tiny island pull off a dining experience as interactive and sophisticated as this.
Not every meal has to be “the best meal of my life”, but when I can see a chef’s culinary vision I feel as though he has succeeded. Of course it still has to be good, but that’s not a problem for Blaine. Course by course I got a clear understanding of what he was trying to do and showcase. It was simply the bountiful harvest of Lummi Island.