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"?!

Fergie is a celebratory mood and wanted to drink some wine.  The ladies didn't want to drink at lunch, and I was going back to the office... so Fergie felt a little lonely drinking by himself.  Being the selfless friend that I am, I decided to join Fergie so he wouldn't look like the wino drinking alone...  although I insisted that the sommelier only give me a very small pour for each glass...

Seared red tuna, fennel pollen, tomato and citrus emulsion, Calvisius Elite caviar - WOW!  I have stopped eating tuna at high end restaurants because I'm avoiding blue fin tuna, but since I didn't tell the chef about my preferences, I decided I'll take it anyway.  My friends, of course, were generously offering to sacrifice themselves for my sake...

This was an incredible dish to start our lunch with.  The marbling in the tuna belly is easy to see, so naturally the gorgeous thing just melted in the mouth... and then you've got the farmed caviar from Lombardy on top.  That tomato and citrus emulsion at the bottom?  Inhaled.  If I didn't think we had a lot more food coming, I'd pick up some focaccia and wipe my bowl clean.

2011 Tua Rita Lodano - an interesting equal blend of Traminer, Riesling and Chardonnay, with annual production of 3,000 bottles.  Very light with some oaky notes and lemon citrus.  Nice acidity here.

Then Chef Bombana brought out his truffles, which looked absolutely beautiful.

You'll find that the chef tends to shave from several different pieces of white truffles onto a single plate.  This is because each piece of truffle is different in terms of fragrance, texture and flavor, so he "blends" them all together to minimize the variation between plates.  I guess this is kinda like winemakers blending different barrels and tanks to create a more uniform vintage.

I did ask Chef Bombana about the reddish patches seen in some of the truffles, and he said that the patches come from truffles growing near a specific type of tree.

Scrambled egg, mushroom jus and Alba white truffle - there is no better companion to white truffle than the humble scrambled egg, although a little mushroom jus can't hurt...

Then we got our truffle shavings... and this was inhaled.

2009 La Spinetta Chardonnay Lidia - ripe nose with toasty oak, caramelized around the edges, very fragrant and beautiful.

Homemade tagliolini, butter, Parmesan and Alba white truffle - the other good companion to white truffle is a simple pasta cooked in butter, and one would be hard pressed to find pasta that is much finer than can be had here.

And of course there was more truffle.  Love the pasta.  Such wonderful bite.

1998 Paolo Scavino Barolo Carobric from magnum - a really beautiful wine.  Nose of dried herbs, forest pine, very ripe and fruity.  Nice acidity here with some tannins.

Lobster risotto, Taggiasca olive, citrus and oregano - beautifully cooked with capers and the jus of the lobster.  The centers of the rice grains were still a little hard, giving that interesting bite.

Ca' del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Rosé, vintage unknown - nose of raspberries, kinda ripe, a little toasty and yeasty.

Roe deer loin - this beautiful off-menu piece of deer came with a little piece of pan-fried foie gras, some chestnuts, potatoes, both diced and sliced porcini, asparagus, and some sorrel leaves on top.

The deer itself was very tender and perfectly executed, with wonderful flavors and texture to match.

2007 Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Bombana" - very toasty nose with forest notes, ripe on the nose but lean on the palate, with some tannins here.  A very beautiful wine.

White truffle ice cream, chestnut, panettone and Alba white truffle - is there a more beautiful sight than shredded white truffle draped over ice cream?  I think not.  Served with chantilly cream, meringue, and panetonne.  The fragrance of the truffle was simply incredible - even better than having it in slices.  I didn't want to put anything in my mouth after this, because it would ruin the wonderful flavors that were still lingering.

2011 Capofaro Malvasia di Salina - pineapple, honey, glycerin, bitter orange, and a little nutty.

This was an incredible meal.  In all the times that I've been to this restaurant, this was the very first meal where I thought I was in the middle of a three-star experience.  Every single dish delivered the "wow factor", and the food was certainly more refined than before.  The Great One concurred, as did the Wommers.  Three star, hands down.

Many thanks to Chef Bombana for preparing such an incredible meal for us, for the beautiful white truffles, and for the little sips of wine to go along.  We made sure to leave a generous tip to make up for all the extras we received.  And I will be back.  Soon.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map