A week ago I received an invitation to a join a special dinner featuring two chefs with Michelin stars at their respective establishments. I'm familiar with the cuisines of both Philippe Orrico and Akrame Benallal, and was curious about what a "4-hands" dinner would be like. After getting assurances about the identities of my dining partners - as I don't care to waste my time in the company of certain people - I took the tram from my office and walked through the doors of Restaurant Akrame for the fifth time.
The theme for the dinner - the second night of only two - was black and white. Each chef would cook dishes based on one of the two colors. Not surprisingly, Akrame chose the dark side... which put Philippe in the white corner. Again, not a surprise.
I hadn't really thought about it, but when g4gary mentioned dressing up for this dinner, I thought it was a pretty good idea. So I made sure I put on a white dress shirt and squeezed into the pair of beige jeans I had long outgrown. I was gonna be Team White/Orrico!
We started with a few bites.
Pearl: oyster / tarragon / vodka lemon / charcoal granita (Black) - the oyster comes from Geay, just inland in the Marennes-Oléron region. This came with some tarragon oil, which was completely overpowered by the acidity in the vodka lemon and charcoal granita. Nice and refreshing, though.
Not a real fan of this dish, which wasn't surprising given the presence (or should I say omnipresence) of beetroot. The cream on the side - together with the chervil - actually managed to cover up the earthy flavors of beetroot that I abhor. But the problem for me is that the snapper itself tasted a little funky... perhaps because it had absorbed the beetroot flavors, or perhaps because it didn't work so well with charcoal. Nothing wrong with the execution here, just that any dish with beetroot runs a high probability of me hating it...
I liked the sweetness from the turnip mash, and there was a good variety of textures. The guinea fowl itself was nicely done and still very tender. But let's be honest here... while guinea fowl sounds more exotic than chicken, in the end it still kinda tastes like chicken... although there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. This was nice.
Sweetness: coconut / caramel / passionfruit (White) - LOVED this one. Mango and passion fruit, cacao crumble, coconut foam, and perilla leaves. Tropical and fruity, right up my alley.
Many thanks to The Forks and Spoons for the kind invitation, and for the very enjoyable company this evening. Now I'm just gonna need to plan that BYO dinner at Spaghetti House we talked about tonight... Stay tuned, everyone!