I received a ping this morning from Chef Richard Ekkebus of Amber. Would I be interested in joining the Azurmendi/Aziamendi pop up tonight as his guest, he asked. To be perfectly honest, I had known about this pop up for a while, but hadn't planned on going. I was looking forward to a night off tonight, since I was scheduled to be dining out 4 times over the next 5 nights. But Richard isn't someone you wanna say 'no' to, especially when he's kind enough to extend an invitation like this.
So I happily said 'yes', and scrambled for the next 2 hours to borrow the right camera equipment from someone, since I foolishly left both of my SLRs at home. Thankfully I do have a few friends with SLRs lying around, and one even got her driver to deliver it to my office.
I've always been a fan of molecular gastronomy. Yes, the guys who brought you foam, sous vide, spherification and all that fun stuff. Guys like Ferran Adrià of elBulli, and his countless disciplines. Well, Chef Eneko Atxa likes to play with lab equipment, too. In addition to the syringes, circulators, steamers and dehydrators that everyone else has, he's also been known to use ultrasound to infuse and concentrate flavors, not to mention putting together a system to capture the smell of fresh herbs being cut. Mad scientist? Maybe.
I arrived at Amber Bar at the appointed time, and immediately ran into a few good friends. We were all to be seated at the same table, and had among us blogueurs, been-there-done-that ex-bloggers, wannabe blogueurs, hell-no-I-am-no-bloggers, professional chefs, home chefs... and a couple of VVIP stragglers who found themselves sitting at what Da Jam once called "the cool table". This was gonna be fun.
Grosset Brut Excellence - not a bad way to start the evening... Nice and a little toasty.
mind-blowing dinner at Ma Cuisine. The "hazelnuts" were actually made from foie gras and chocolate, and definitely very tasty. The pigeon itself sat on a bed of duxelles, which was itself very yummy.
Many thanks to Richard for the kind invitation. A real eye-opener. And since I'm still boycotting Thailand after all these years, regrettably I won't be visiting the team at Aziamendi any time soon. I guess I'm overdue for a return to Basque country, as so much has happened since my last visit in 2006...