November 29, 2014

White truffle for mom, 2014 edition

Pin It

I'm back home this weekend to exercise my constitutional rights and fulfill my civic duties.  Yes, I flew back to Taiwan to vote in the elections today.  While mom was initially not hot on the idea of me making the trip back, I insisted that I would not give up on my rights.  My vote is just as important as anyone else's and I wouldn't dream of giving up my right to vote.

For a change, I asked the parental units to come and hang out at my place, since I wanted to cook dinner in my kitchen.  After last year's rather unsuccessful attempt to cook a decent dinner for mom, I was determined to try again.  Since it's white truffle season, again, I dropped by Neighborhood and asked David to sell me a little tuber that I could take home to mom.

This year I decided to do risotto instead.  Gary had just posted a mushroom risotto recipe on his blog recently, so I figured I'd try it out.  I knew I didn't have time to shop for ingredients in Taipei, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to find everything I needed, anyway... so I brought a bunch of key ingredients with me from Hong Kong.

It's been a few years since I cooked my last risotto, and that attempt didn't end well.  So this year I decided to take things a little slower... making sure it was medium to medium low heat, and adding my stock in one ladle at a time per Gary's instructions.  I probably could have prepped a little better, and didn't exactly get my mis en place all done before firing up the stove, but it went fairly smoothly. Although I did scramble a little while trying to sauté my shimeji mushrooms (しめじ茸) and stir the risotto at the same time.  And mom helped by dicing the rehydrated porcini for me.

November 27, 2014

Week of not collecting Michelin stars: infine, tre stelle

Pin It

I used to really like going to 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.  There was a time when I kept returning for wine dinners there, as I fell in love with some of the dishes that Chef Bomabana offered there and the corkage policy was pretty reasonable and fair.  I would also pop by for a casual lunch sometimes, especially after a friend told me about the off-menu carbonara.

Then the restaurant was given three macarons by the Rubberman.  I'm happy that the chef has gained that level of recognition, even though many of us privately (OK, sometimes publicly, too) disagreed with the Rubberman.  Well, reservations became much harder to come by, and one would often need to book weeks in advance.  After a few unsuccessful attempts of trying to book even 2 and sometimes 3 weeks in advance, I gradually gave up altogether.  I simply chose to dine elsewhere.

It's white truffle season, and many in town have traditionally come to Chef Bombana to get their fix.  While I've been lucky to get my truffle at a multitude of places this year - including David Lai's Neighborhood - I still needed to come back here at least once.  So I rounded up a few of the most discerning palates in town, and booked for lunch 4 weeks in advance.

While nobody at the restaurant knows who I am, Chef Bombana certain knows my dining companions well.  He came over to greet us, and asked whether we would prefer to order à la carte or whether we'd prefer he put something together for us.

When a chef of this caliber puts something like that on the table, who in their right mind would say "No"?!

November 26, 2014

Week of not collecting Michelin stars: Bo Confusion

Pin It

I've been a long-time fan of Alvin Leung's cuisine, having first visited his place at Gilman's Bazaar back around 2004.  It's also one of the restaurants I often recommend to visitors.  But for someone who's supposedly a fan, I certainly haven't been there much lately.  In fact, my last visit was more than 4 years ago, so a return visit is certainly long overdue.

The PR for the restaurant has been kind enough to extend me invitations for visits, repeatedly over the last few months both for Bo Innovation as well as MIC Kitchen.  Unfortunately timing has never worked out for me, and in any case I am more than happy to go on my own dime.  After such a long absence, I kinda wanted to go in under the radar... and check things out as a "regular" diner.

But with this restaurant, it's not always easy finding a dining companion.  People either love or hate the food, and people also either love or hate Alvin.  And with the pricing of the various set menus, it's a little expensive for someone to bet on.  Fortunately My Favorite Cousin is always up for some good food, so I had no difficulty in roping in my accomplice for this mission.

I was running late and arrived a few minutes after my cousin, who was seated but hidden from view.  The staff at the entrance didn't seem too keen on the idea of me going around the place looking for my cousin, so they asked for the name of the reservation.  I told them my last name and also spelled it out.  They can't find it.  Was I sure about the name? Then they repeat my name back to me, with the wrong vowel.  I repeat my name again.  Eventually they managed to find my name on their clipboard, and lead me to the right table.  When a restaurant with Michelin stars can't find your reservation - even after someone else from the same party has already arrived - you kinda get the feeling that there's more trouble ahead.

I had checked out the menus on the website, and while I preferred the Tasting Menu myself for some of the items listed there, I wanted to see if my cousin could order the Chef's Menu, so that we could swap dishes and taste a greater variety.  Well, apparently that is simply too difficult for this 3-star kitchen to handle.  If we wanted to take different menus, we would have to take the Chef's Menu and the Chef's Tasting Menu - the more expensive two out of the three - because there was more overlap between those two.

Well, I didn't feel like paying an extra USD 100 for a more expensive menu simply because the kitchen couldn't be bothered to time themselves better, so I decided that we'd both take the cheapest Tasting Menu, without any extra dishes requiring supplements.

Our amuse bouche came in a paper bag, and we ripped it open to reveal Alvin's version of one of Hong Kong's beloved street foods - gai daan jai (雞蛋仔).  These egg waffles were slightly sweet, but with bits of Yunnan ham (雲腿) and spring onions inside.  These were a little greasy and pretty finger-licking good.  The only issue we had with it was that the two "halves" didn't stick together and separated.

November 25, 2014

Week of not collecting Michelin stars: my favorite roast goose

Pin It

I'm back in Hong Kong today and looking for a quick dinner near the office before heading home with my luggage.  So I decided to walk to my favorite place for Cantonese roast goose - Yat Lok (一樂燒鵝).

I've been coming to Yat Lok for my roast goose since 2006 when a former colleague introduced me to the place.  I've long thought that they offered one of the best Cantonese roast goose in town, and a few years ago I even did a face-off between Yat Lok and the much lauded goose from Yung Kee (鏞記酒家).  Needless to say Yat Lok won that round.

They've been included in the Rubberman's guide for the last few years and chosen as part of their Bib Gourmand section, which is basically good eats and reasonable prices - something I wholeheartedly agree with.  For the 2015 guide, though, some idiot (maybe the same idiot who decided to give a star to Din Tai Feng (鼎泰豐) and Tim Ho Wan (添好運) starting from the 2010 edition) decided to give these guys a star.  Now, I'm one of the biggest fans of this place, but a freakin' Michelin star?!  Dude, this is a place where just about everyone spits their goose and chicken bones onto the table, and there's about maybe 10 cm between me and my neighbor.  WTF are these Michelin people thinking?!

OK, enough ranting... or e_ting will remind me again of my promise a few years ago to stop saying WTF when the annual list comes out...

November 24, 2014

Week of not collecting Michelin stars: Indian surprise

Pin It

I'm back in Macau today for a board meeting with the boss.  Given that we were staying at the Venetian, had limited time for dinner, and there were only two of us, the choices were woefully limited.  We had casually strolled into one of the Chinese eateries and sat down, but after noticing a certain look on the boss' face, I suggested that we could go somewhere else if the food wasn't to his liking.

As soon as we walked out the door, the boss surprised me by saying: "Let's try the Indian food (with Michelin stars)".

Really?!  That was the last thing I thought would happen tonight.

Well, Golden Peacock was pretty close by, and within a couple of minutes we were seated and flipping through the menu.  The good thing about tonight was that I didn't have to do the ordering, and the boss ended up picking a bunch of more interesting dishes than I would have myself.

First came some traditional snacks like papadum and what looked like murukku and namak para, served with dips and chutney.

Scallop ambot tik - apparently a Goan specialty, these Scottish scallops were very good.  Cooked mi-cuit, the spicy tomato jam provided both a nice acidity and the spicy kick.  Little puris were served on the side with garnish.  Interestingly, the fine, colorful curls which at first glance looked like rubber bands turned out to be capsicums...

November 23, 2014

Getting drunk at The Porn

Pin It

Another month has gone by, and now it was Lord Rayas' turn to host his dinner for MNSC.  No one was surprised when The Porn Pawn was announced as the venue this year.  After all, the place had just re-opened weeks ago to much fanfare after 3 months' of renovations, and now they've got Tom Aikens on board.  True to form, I've deliberately stayed away during the initial opening period - not wanting to pass judgement on the new operation.  Tonight I finally got my chance for a first nibble.

I had seen pictures of the interior posted online by others, and it seems the renovation has met with mixed reactions.  They did manage to rip up the interiors again, and this time the look is decidedly updated and modern.  We naturally found ourselves in the the private room, and with its black marble walls and tables, the mirrored entrance arch, and the newfangled lighting, I think it's only fitting that we now call it The PORN...

November 22, 2014

Old school Hong Kong day part 2: village wedding

Pin It

After bidding farewell to my visitors, I hopped on the train and slowly made by way to the northwest corner of Hong Kong.  One of my friends - who is an indigenous inhabitant (原居民) - is throwing a wedding banquet in her ancestral village in the New Territories.  This was a rare opportunity for me to see a part of Hong Kong that many of us don't get much exposure to.

A couple of years ago, I had asked my friend about the opportunity to visit her village so that I could have the opportunity to sample the famous poon choi (盆菜) offered in the New Territories during the festive season.  Well, I'm glad I finally got that invitation, and even happier that it's for her wedding banquet!

After a short bus ride from the nearest train station, I followed the signs in the direction of my friend's village in Ha Tsuen (夏村).  I soon started seeing various signs and posters they put up to guide us in the right direction, so it turned out to be pretty easy for me to find my way... whereas a bunch of people who drove had a lot more trouble than I did.

When enough people have arrived, the bride (the groom did show up, eventually...) led us on a tour of the village.  First stop was this landmark which announced that one is now in Ha Tsuen.

Old school Hong Kong day part 1: morning tea at Lin Heung

Pin It

I had a couple of visitors from out of town this weekend, but unfortunately my schedule was too busy to take them out properly... so in the end we settled for "morning tea (早茶)" at a Hong Kong institution - Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓).

We arrived just after 10:30 a.m. on this particular Saturday, and not surprisingly there was not an empty seat in sight.  The reason why this was only my third visit to said establishment in almost 20 years of being in Hong Kong - never mind that my office has been within walking distance for quite a few of those years - is I never wanted to spend time waiting for a table.  My last visit was with Sheets, and since his family owns the place, there was naturally no need to wait for a table...

Well it took the three of us a while, including me trying to not get into an argument with some locals - but we did eventually manage to find 3 empty chairs to settle our butts into.  After rinsing our tea cups, bowls, chopsticks and spoons in the bowl of hot water provided, I grabbed our stamp card and went to look for our food.

As I would remark later to a couple of Caucasians at the same table, you gotta fight for your table and also fight for your food here.  Depending on where you find your seat, it may be unlikely for the dim sum carts to ever reach you... so you just gotta go find the ladies with the carts and bring the food back to the table.  And on most days like today, there's gonna be a mob surrounding the cart as soon as it comes out of the kitchen.  In fact, a bunch of people and I were kinda standing around waiting for the cart to emerge, and would pounce on the poor cart lady within seconds - almost like a feeding frenzy of piranhas or sharks...

November 21, 2014

Wine and Chinese medicine dinner

Pin It

A couple of days after an unexpected big night out, here I am seeing some of the same people again... for a big birthday bash.  This was always gonna be a highlight on my wine calendar, as my generous friend brings out a string of big and interesting wines to share with us.  I fell asleep at the table last year, and was trying to make sure that the same wouldn't happen tonight...

We're back at Seventh Son (家全七福) - not just because our host is friendly with the owners, but because the food here rarely disappoints.  I saw the lineup of dishes before I came to dinner, and it just looked like a full onslaught of deliciousness - so I tried to have some discipline about having seconds.

We started with four appetizers:

Deep-fried chicken barbecued kidney in egg custard (雞子戈渣) - definitely tasted the chicken broth.

November 19, 2014

Let it snow

Pin It

White truffle season is in full swing, and I'm back at Neighborhood to take advantage of their incredible promotion.  Just like last time, my first order of business was to pick out our very own white truffle.  This time, though, I didn't pick based on size.  We actually sniffed each truffle and picked the most fragrant.

There were only two of us tonight, and we weren't too greedy... so we picked one that was just over 34 grams.  The aroma was simply incredible, and this enveloped us throughout our dinner as the truffle sat on the table for the next couple of hours.

November 15, 2014

A much better sushi lunch

Pin It

I'm meeting up with the Specialist for lunch today, even though I hadn't planned on eating out much this weekend.  The original suggestion of going to Upper Modern Bistro - which both of us really like - was flatly rejected by yours truly.  Why?  Because I really didn't want to eat a lot today, and I feared that if Jeremy saw me there, there was no way I could escape without having a ton of cheese... So I needed to go to a place where they don't know me, so that I could eat as little as I wanted to.

The solution turned out to be Sushi Sase (鮨佐瀬).  Long considered one of the best places in town for sushi, I have very fond memories of my only visit a few years ago.  I was only too happy to check it out for lunch.

I settled for the traditional sushi set (織部 握り), which comes with 10 pieces of nigiri (寿司10貫) and a roll (巻物).  When I told our chef that I did not wish to have any type of tuna, he informed me that normally the roll is a fatty tuna and scallion roll (葱トロ巻き), but he would try to substitute that for me.

We started with a chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し).

Halibut (鰈) - slightly crunchy.

November 14, 2014

3 Dutchies in Hong Kong

Pin It

A week after my fantastic long lunch with game meats, I'm back at Amber for dinner tonight.  Once again I'm tagging along with the boys from QLI, which means I was with not one but three Dutchies tonight.  If you thought Chef Richard Ekkebus was tall, lemme tell ya... I felt like I was in a show called "My Life as a Midget" tonight!

Our welcome drink tonight: Silver Needle (白毫銀針) tea, with cucumber marinated in soda water, a dollop of Granny Smith apple sauce, and a sliver of lemon zest.  Nice and refreshing.

Richard also started us with a glass of Champagne...

Alfred Gratien Cuvée Brut Classique - very ripe on the nose, ripe mid-palate but the acidity comes out on the finish.  Lots of toasty oak, with minerals and sweetness on the nose.

November 13, 2014

Eleventh at 10

Pin It

I'm back in Hong Kong but the eating continues.  Tonight I'm back at On Lot 10 for the 11th time in as many months, meeting a bunch of knowledgeable "foodies".  The Great One was kind enough to invite me along, and despite the calories I had already accumulated this week, I was only too happy to go for another round at my favorite restaurant in town.

Once again David decided to send out way too much food for our party... He must think that our stomachs are actually twice their actual size! A couple of us had discussed before dinner to coordinate the wines we were bringing tonight, and I think it worked out OK...

Salted cod, truffle potato / "taoyoran" egg / truffle sauce - I really liked this the last time, and it was very simple yet enjoyable tonight.  I normally don't eat much potato, but I found myself unable to resist the acidity in them tonight, which worked wonders with the salted cod.

November 12, 2014

Macau tour 2014: nibbling at Golden Flower

Pin It

My last dinner on this short trip to Macau took place at Golden Flower (京花軒) in the Wynn Macau.  The QLI boys had checked into their rooms at the Wynn, and we were shown to the restaurant by the hotel's PR.  Golden Flower showcases a mixture of Tan (譚家菜), Shandong, and Sichuan cuisines, and honestly I have never had any experience with Tan cuisine - given its relatively short history (just over 100 years) and the fact that it is hardly ever found outside Beijing.  Given that the Rubberman has decided to give this place two macarons, I was naturally curious to see what the hubbub was all about.

We started with a cup of flower tea, which was a blend of chrysanthemum, osmanthus, magnolia and Oolong.  Served traditionally with the smelling cup (聞香杯) and tasting cup (品茗杯) combination.  Very light and elegant, naturally.

The amuse bouche was a poached abalone with oyster sauce.  The flavors were rich but not too heavy.

Macau tour 2014: view from the Dôme

Pin It

After the cellar tour, our day continued with lunch at Robuchon au Dôme - one of the finest restaurants in the region.  I didn't have any breakfast this morning so that I could save some stomach space for what was bound to happen at lunch...

The boys decided that they didn't want to share their food with me.  No half- or third-portions of anything.  So I decided to just order the 4-course lunch - one fewer than usual, and also one fewer than the boys.  For once I wanted to be able to eat dinner after surviving lunch at this place, without feeling like I've swallowed a giant boulder...

First things first.  Buttah.  The first trolley - and there is a whole series of them in this place - to show up is the butter.  Not just any butter, but from Bordier.  We all asked for the salted version, and watched as our waiter carved it out from the mound with a dinner spoon.

That's a real pretty sight.  Funny how something so simple can manage to make one so happy.

The next trolley to show up is, naturally, the bread trolley.  They have already placed a section of them on our table, but wanted to see if there was anything else we wanted...

Macau tour 2014: still the best cellar in Asia

Pin It

Three years ago I was lucky enough to have visited what I believe to be the best wine cellar in Asia, which belongs to Hotel Lisboa.  The boys at QLI remembered my post, and during dinner last night they asked if a visit could be arranged.  Thankfully the hotel was extremely accommodating, and promptly arranged a tour for us this morning.

Initially I was rather less interested in another visit to the cellar, as I had already seen the scope and some of the gems before, but I tagged along anyway.  I would quickly realize what a good decision that was.

The collection has gotten bigger since my last visit, and now encompass more than half a million bottles with over 14,000 labels - which probably puts it among the top 3 restaurant cellars in the world and probably the largest in Asia.  They now have around 22 cellars of varying sizes spread throughout the complex - in addition to the racks placed at each of their fine dining restaurants - although only 6 of them are of considerable size.  They've built new ones and reorganized their collections, and the result was stunning.

November 11, 2014

Macau tour 2014: 76 at Eight

Pin It

I'm back in Macau on a 2-day eating trip, this time tagging along with a couple of guys from QLI.  They're here at the invitation of a couple of hotels, and were kind enough to ask me to join them.

Their day actually started with lunch at the Tasting Room.  As much as I liked my dinner there early this year, I decided it would be a bad idea to join them for that particular meal given my full feeding schedule for the week.  I will just have to go back another day on my own dime.

So I would start this trip with dinner at The Eight, which is my book is the only 3-macaron Chinese restaurant around.  The friendly PR team from the Hotel Lisboa set us up in a private room, made the introductions, and left us in the good hands of the appropriate people.

The amuses bouches, as usual, came as a pair - but one was hot while the other one cold.  The little abalone sat on top of a layer of pomelo jelly.  The sautéed pork neck with bell peppers came in a little bird's nest.

Steamed cristal blue shrimp dumplings in goldfish shape (藍天使蝦金魚餃) - I've always loved their shrimp dumplings here, but now this is even better with the blue shrimp from New Zealand.  Definitely tastier.

November 10, 2014

Another salty evening

Pin It

Another month, another gem to unearth victim to skewer.  It's been a challenge trying to find the right restaurant that has just opened so that it's pretty much brand-new, yet interesting enough both to me and the general public.  It was harder this month than the last two, as timing changes meant I couldn't try a couple of the really interesting spots.  In the end I settled on Chez Didier Bistro - a reincarnation that has sprouted up in an alley in North Point just a stone's throw away from the MTR station.

There were only two tables occupied when I arrived at the door.  And I stood in the doorway for perhaps up to a minute, wondering if anyone would bother to come up to greet me, while the chef's wife decided that she would much rather keep chatting with the customers at one of the tables.  Eventually a waitress emerged from the kitchen and led me to a table.

It's pretty obvious from the menu that the chef comes from Provence, since Provençal specialties dotted the menu in addition to the "French classics".  Had I done a little more research on the background of the chef, I probably would have ordered a little differently and chosen.  Years ago a friend had introduced me to the chef at Cafe des Artistes, but I had never had the good fortune to taste his bouillabaisse before the restaurant's demise.  And I decided not to order it tonight.  Oh well...

Escargot persillade - my dining companion went for the "safe" choice, and this was pretty decent.  Lots of garlic, parsley and butter.

November 7, 2014

Game preview

Pin It

It's been a few months since my last awesome meal at Amber, and I was looking forward to returning with a couple of out of town guests next week.  While discussing my upcoming visit at a dinner last week, Chef David Lai mentioned that he'd like to come along and see Chef Richard Ekkebus... especially after Richard was snubbed by that stupid red book yet again recently.  It was time to show him some love, so I pinged a few people and rounded up a quartet for lunch today.

It's game season, so I checked with Richard about what was on offer, then chose both partridge and wild hare after consulting the gang.  I understand that Richard does a different version of lièvre à la royale every year, so we were definitely looking forward to that!

About an hour before lunch, I Love Lubutin pinged me to tell me that a big deal's come up and she had to work through lunch.  That's obviously a real bummer for all of us, as we would miss her company - and another opportunity to watch the famous finger at work.

I took a look at our menu upon arrival, and I knew that I was in trouble.  There were 5 courses - plus the amuses bouches and petits fours.  This was gonna be no short lunch, and I would have to carry my stomach outta here...

First we started with a drink... a little bit of ice-cold Silver Needle (白毫銀針) tea, with a piece of cucumber, a bit of Granny Smith apple sauce, and a tiny sliver of lemon zest.  The tea was certainly fragrant, but so delicate and elegant... not at all in-your-face.  A wonderful start to our lunch.

Then the nibbles started coming our way...

The wooden masu (枡) had a layer of pumpkin seeds, on top of which sat a squid ink pita bread filled with celeriac purée, topped with a slice of autumn truffle.  Very nice.  Beside it was a crispy rice cracker, with dots of apple and pumpkin purée.  Not bad, either.

November 6, 2014

Not exactly Chinatown

Pin It

One of the most talked about hyped up openings this year has to have been Mott 32.  Named after a historic address in New York's Chinatown, it would be easy to assume that this is another gweilo-friendly place to have bastardized Chinese food in an expensively decked out setting.  I have been told that it isn't, but I never had the opportunity to check it out for myself.  I had missed out on attending the opening party, and then had to cancel another dinner I had planned there.

So when my friendly neighborhood prime broker sent out an invitation for a roundtable lunch here, I wasted no time in accepting that invitation.

This was a work lunch and the menu was preset.  The bunch of us squeezed into the smaller of the private rooms, and I was more than a little embarrassed when my host kept asking if the food was up to my standards... Am I that much of a food snob??  No need to answer that question...

Pork belly salad rolls, garlic and chilli dressing (蒜泥白玉) - not bad.

Dry fried squid, sweet chilli and lime zest sauce (香檸甜辣鮮魷) - I was wondering why the batter was pretty dry and hard, since the texture was very different from the deep-fried squid I normally enjoy.  I guess this was done in one of those "air fryers", albeit a "professional" version?  The garlic powder must have gone though the same process, as it was much more "powdery" than usual.  The garlic flavor actually wasn't so in-your-face, although it was still strong.  Definitely the "healthy" version as it wasn't nearly as greasy.

November 4, 2014

19 grams

Pin It

A couple of weeks ago, my friend David Lai announced that he was running a white truffle promotion at his restaurants "at cost" to celebrate the opening of his new joint Neighborhood.  I had missed out on some great value truffles at a dinner last week due to a missing shipment, but I was determined to get some, so I roped in My Favorite Cousin - who's always up for a good meal - and another friend and headed back to Neighborhood.

I saw a few familiar faces as soon as I walked through the door.  The boss lady was in the house, and there was also Dashijie and her hubby at the table next to ours.  I later found that another friend had been at the restaurant for the first seating.  Looks like many of us simply couldn't pass up this great deal!

First order of business, before we get to anything else, was to go pick out our truffle.  Diners get to pick out their very own whole truffle, have it weighed on a scale to figure out the cost, then brought to the table with a shaver... so that YOU could DIY and decide how much to shave over which dish.  Being a greedy bastard, I naturally picked the biggest piece on offer.  This little baby weighed in at just under 57 grams, which worked out to about 19 grams for each of us.  That seemed like a pretty decent amount...

November 3, 2014

Lunch on the rocks

Pin It

I have been remiss.  It's been months since I last paid Chef Uwe Opocensky a visit, and every once in a while he'll drop hints which, over time, became increasingly less subtle.  When it became painfully obvious that Uwe was feeling neglected and unloved, I roped a friend into doing lunch with me at the Mandarin Grill + Bar, then pinged Uwe and told him I was coming.  After all, we both love Uwe's food, and really should take time to visit our friends more regularly...

After sitting down at our table by the window - which, by the way, has plenty of lighting for pictures - Uwe came over to check on us.  Now, when a chef asks you to go visit him so you could try out some new dishes, it is best to leave things up to the chef.  So we dispensed with ordering, but I pleaded with Uwe "not to kill me" with too much food - like the time when I almost exploded in the restaurant...  He promised to go easy on me.  Uh-huh.

We were offered a glass of "R" de Ruinart to start.  I hadn't planned on drinking at lunch, but decided it would be poor form to turn down the Champagne.  Nicely balanced and very easy to drink.

When the waitstaff comes over, and asks you to remove the glassware from the table so that he can lay silicone mats on the table top, you know you're in trouble.  Usually the silicone mat comes out at the end of the meal... for the grand dessert presentation that's kinda OTT... so what did this all mean?

Our "starter" was in fact a whole series of seafood, and Uwe simply called it "a taste of the seaside".

First Uwe came and sprinkled a bunch of fermented beer soil around.  Then the staff came over and laid down a bowl containing pebbles and seaweed, and liquid was poured into the bowl so that the dry ice could release the scent of the sea.  This was by now a familiar sight, and Uwe said he works with someone in Spain for the scent - which makes sense considering Azurmendi has a presentation like this.  Then someone brought a big rock and set it in the middle of the bowl, and the staff proceeded to bring out more rocks, progressively - each bearing a different type of seafood on top.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map