Wednesday, January 28, 2015
All the Cocktails on the Opening Menu at Mourad
I feel for restaurant owners on opening night. Despite what often seems like glitz and glam from the outside, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to open your doors for the first time and invite in hoards of San Francisco sophisticates with high expectations. Yet when Mourad Lalou opened his latest project, Mourad, in San Francisco's neo gothic Pacbell Building in SOMA last night, he did so with seeming ease. Service seemed calm. And the cocktails—of course my interest point here—were elegantly executed.
The opening menu is put together by Christ Aivaliotis, of consulting firm Wizard Oil. After getting his start with Erik Adkins at Flora, Christ opened a cocktail consultancy with his business partner Tory Bayless and was brought on to create the program at Mourad.
It's a simple, but well constructed, menu with cohesive flavors and a touch of spices to go with the restaurant's theme—which, like its Michelined sister Aziza, focuses on Morocco.
The restaurant is an impressive stage for cocktails. The layout is designed to resemble a traditional Moroccan home, which grows in intimacy as you move from the front to the back. It starts with the living room and opens up to the main dining room. The staircase in back looks like it could move into a bedroom—in actuality another dining room. The bar itself is granite-topped and so long that it curves into an L. The backbar is impressively large and rises above the counter with modern, minimalist shelves.
Here is what you can expect from the opening cocktail menu at Mourad and some scant notes:
On the Spot - rye, nocino, manzilla, triple sec. A smooth and stirred drinks with velvety elements of fig from the sherry.
Calgula's Kiss - rum, cherry liqueur and lime. Bright and refreshing. Not too sweet.
Baco: tequilla, pineapple, lime, cinnamon, herbsaint. It's bright, sweet, slightly buttery (from the pineapple), and cohesive.
Chrysanthemum - Benedictine, French vermouth, and Elisir mp Roux (a herbsaint from Provence, France). It's a sweet drink that tastes like honey suckle, though the texture is still light and not viscous. The drink is relatively low ABV, and tastes like a milder, sweeter martini for those who like the flavor profile of the classic drink with less aggressive notes.
Old Blanco Daisy - pisco, pomelo, and tonga mix made of real passion fruit, real lilikoi. The tonga mix is made made of pomegranate, orange peels, and pomelo. They also had real lilikoi seeds for sweetnss and texture. Though it sounds sweet, the pomelo balances out the drink with a touch of bitterness.
Copa Gibson - A classic mix of Sipsmith Gin, bitter, and onion.
Salt and Pepper - gin, lemon, grapefruit, bitters. They use Broker's gin in this drink, which is dry and botanical—a good match to the grape fruit and bitters.
140 New Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94105