Del Aziz serves middle eastern and mediterranean style cusine and has several branches around London. We decided to check out the one in Westfield (White City) as part of a family meal. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating, with seating outside on the terrace mainly reserved for those who want to smoke shisha. As the evening was relatively warm when we went, the glass doors seperating the two areas were opened.
Inside, the restaurant is decorated with pink hues and earthy browns to compliment the middle eastern theme. The tables are all wooden with large benches running down the centre of the room for larger parties. At the back of the restaurant is an impressive display of the wines they offer which, according to their wine list, encompasses around 90 different varieties from a range of regions.
|Restaurant interior: Wine display|
Once we were seated, we were given complimentary appetisers to nibble on as we mulled over what to order. Included were black and green olives, pickled turnip, jalapenos and preserved lemon.
|Appetiser: Olives, pickled turnip, jalapenos and preserved lemon|
For drinks we has a classic Caipirinha, a Morohito (one of their classic cocktails and two non-alcoholic cocktails, a Virgin Morrocan Mint and a Berry Island. The Morohito was meant to be a twist on a mojito with lychee juice and purple basil and although it was nice, I couldn't really tell the difference if it was a classic mojito. Overall, the drinks were nice but nothing special.
For starters we decided to share a mezze platter between the 4 of us and opted for the mixed version which included hummus (chickpea based dip), tabouleh (cucumber and yoghurt with herbs), lamb boreck (lamb wrapped in pastry), keftas (cinnamon lamb meatballs in tomato sauce), merguez sausages (spiced lamb sausages) and tzatziki (parsley, mint and tomato salad). A waitress also served us with a selection of breads but didn't seem bothered to explain what types were on offer and when asked, mumbled and seemed unsure herself. In the end, we took some sun dried tomato bread and cracked pepper (?) bread. Overall, the starter was a let down. None of the flavours in the bread came through and tasted like a standard white loaf and the mezze did not have much taste or depth of flavour. Very disappointed.
|Mixed mezze platter: Hummus, tabouleh, lamb boreck, keftas, merguez sausages and tzatziki|
After the underwhelming starter, we were hopeful the mains would be better. They were not. One of the dishes were ordered was the Tagine of Chicken with Preserved Lemon & Green Olives, a firm favourite whenever we go to middle eastern/morrocan restaurants. The dish was very disappointing with very little lemon flavour and tasted more like a casserole that needed extra seasoning than the delicious dish we were expecting.
|Tagine of Chicken with Preserved Lemon & Green Olives|
The Tagine Of Duck and Apricots was also distinctly bland. Similarly, the Tagine of Lamb with Prunes and Almonds lacked the strong flavours and spices expected and instead of melting in mouth, the lamb was tough and there was no almond taste whatsoever. All the tagines were served with a side of couscous.
|Tagine Of Duck and Apricots|
|Tagine of Lamb with Prunes and Almonds|
The last dish we ordered was the catch of the day which was pan fried seabass on a bed of rice and broad beans. Again, it lacked much flavour.
|Pan fried sea bass|
Needless to say, we did not finish our meal and left not feeling hungry but not feeling satisfied either. What was most disappointing was the lack of the flavour and spices. Everything just tasted the same, of nothing much really. Whilst the restaurant looked lovely and it was nice to have live entertainment in the form of a bellydancer, it was let down by the authenticity of the food. Having been to other restaurants serving this type of cusine, we were really looking forward to trying Del Aziz. If we were blindfolded we wouldn't be able to tell it was middle eastern food. Indeed, we wouldn't think otherwise if we were told this was served in an english pub. A bad english pub. Extremely disappointed.