Lunch at the new Spice Road Table

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to try Walt Disney World’s newest restaurant, the Spice Road Table. It is located in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. The restaurant is described as offering ‘small plates from around the Mediterranean’.

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The variety and quantity of items, both food and beverage surprised me.

Once you pass the maître de stand, you enter the center of the establishment, a seat-less bar. This bar serves the large assortment of wines, aperitifs, cordials and liquor based drinks that are offered on the menu.

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Putting a bar front and center in the restaurant may help squelch the belief that the Moroccan pavilion is ‘dry’.

On either side of the bar is an archway leading to the seating. To the left, an open air covered patio seating area with around 40-50 tables. To the right, an enclosed room with 20-30 tables. I chose to be seated indoors.

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The view of the lagoon from my table.

The décor went well with the theme and story built around the rest of the pavilion. The room was flooded with light due to the large windows flanking the lagoon side of the room. The furniture was all very sturdy and solid, built to last and leave and impression. All the table tops in the room had hammered metal tops. While I was there the head chef from Monsieur Paul and his entourage came in and also sampled the menu. They were seated to the left of the photo.

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I typically enjoy Mediterranean cuisine, so I expected to leave with a happy palate. Because I wanted to try multiple items, I opted for a Tingis Sampler ($16) [Harissa Chicken Roll, Lamb Slider, Merguez Sausage] and in addition, Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves ($8).

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The waiter brought my grape leaves first. While the menu didn’t distinctly call out any items that met specific dietary guidelines (vegetarian, no sugar, etc.) this was a vegetarian option. The four grape leave bundles were drizzled with a nutmeg infused oil and were accompanied by pine nuts, golden raisins, capers and raisins. The jasmine rice which filled the leaves was fluffy and also lightly seasoned. Of the things I tried, this was by far my overall first choice and would most certainly re-order again.

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A section cut of the tasty Rice Stuffed Grape Leaf

Next he brought my Tingis Sampler. I very scientifically went ‘eany, meany, miney, moe’ and landed upon the Harissa Chicken Roll to try next.

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Surprisingly good Harissa Chicken Roll

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this item. Visually, it reminded me of a Chinese Egg or Spring roll. The roll had a similar texture and taste, but the filling was most certainly inspired by North African flavors. There was a mild spice to it, nothing to raise any alarm, but a slight one nonetheless. I am not extremely familiar with deep fried Mediterranean food, so this was a pleasant surprise for me. It was served with Harissa ketchup. Other than to help improve the visual appeal of it, I am not sure the ketchup was necessary. It didn’t add to nor enhance the flavor of the roll. This was my second favorite menu item that I tried.

photo 3The Lamb Slider was next up. It looked kind of sad and pathetic hiding under the bun and sauce. It did look far too big to eat in two bites, so I decided to honor my parents and make them proud by cutting my food into smaller pieces to eat it. I am glad I did. It revealed that the meat was actually far larger than I thought. Taste-wise it was about on par with my expectations. It was nicely seasoned with a Lebanese influence. The lamb was still moist and extremely flavorful.

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Last up was the Merguez Sausage. This was my least favorite item I tried. Not that it was bad, just that it was bland and not memorable. The diced tomato salad that it rested upon was also relatively flavorless and blah.

After having a brief sample of the menu, I can say that I walked away pleased with the service, the atmosphere and most importantly the food I had eaten at Spice Road Table. I can certainly see myself coming back and trying more menu items the next time I am wandering around World Showcase.

And for what it’s worth, Francesco Santin and his companions sitting next to me enjoyed everything they sampled as well; which was far more expansive than the four things I tried.

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