June 2, 2017

Early birthday dinner

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Chef RC's birthday is coming up, and Ro Ro suggested that we get together for a joint birthday celebration for both Chef RC and myself.  As Chef RC has yet to have the chance to check out Frantzén's Kitchen, we figured we'd book ourselves a table for the occasion.  Starting dinner at 9:30 on a Friday night may sound kinda late, but it actually worked out well for our schedules.

I had been watching my waistline expand in the last few weeks, so I was determined to limit my intake tonight.  Adding in the fact that this was my third visit in as many months - probably the highest number of visits I have ever paid to any new restaurant - I have already tried out most of the dishes on my previous visits.  Thankfully there were a couple of special dishes tonight, so I could keep my repeats to a minimum.

With three couples tonight, the ordering went a little differently from my last two visits.  Each couple ordered their own dishes to share, and I started with two snacks.

As it was already so late and we were hungry, I couldn't wait to dig into the knäckebröd and beurre noisette.  I didn't go too crazy tonight, though...

Råraka - starting with a new snack.  The crispy strands of potato were topped with sour cream, vendace roe, matcha powder, beetroot powder, fresh dill and chives.  Naturally, anytime you deep-fry potatoes until they're crispy will make for something tasty... and the sour cream delivered some nice flavors which worked well with the delicious vendace roe.  There was a hint of matcha but thankfully almost no trace of beetroot.  Pretty tasty mouthful, although I wish the size was slightly bigger.  As it was, this one bite left me slightly unsatiated.

"Swedish sushi" - Hello Kitty thought the piece she had tonight was the best out of the three she's had.  As for me, I thought it was still a delicious bite, but I didn't get as much enjoyment out of the raw slice of fallow deer.  Maybe it was because they put more cep mayonnaise in there, or the shavings of frozen foie gras had more seasoning.  In any case, I thought this piece tasted a little too heavy compared to what I remembered.

Chawanmushi - a special of the day.  Within the steamed egg custard made with the addition of cauliflower purée was crab meat from the Orkney Islands, topped with sea urchin from Faroe Islands and shaved summer truffle.  The sea urchin was certainly very different from the Japanese varietals we have grown accustomed to around here... with much darker colors and heavier, more metallic and briny flavors in contrast to the sweeter flavor profile of Hokkaido sea urchin.

White asparagus - a dish that Hello Kitty wanted to repeat.  Vaucluse white asparagus slow-cooked for 2 hours with dry white wine and coriander, and covered with the peel of white asparagus. Served with purée of split peas, sauce made with gooseberries fermented for 19 days, mint chiffonade, crudités of green asparagus, morels from Tibet, and toasted pine nuts. Very, very tasty.

North Atlantic cod - a new dish now that skrei season was over.  The cod was cooked at a core temperature of 37°C, with butter sauce flavored with juniper berries, lemon thyme oil, and topped with onions in 3 different textures (crispy, confit? and pickled?), pears infused in orange vinegar, as well as oregano.  The cod was delicious, and the sauce was at once creamy but the acidity helped cut through it.  Some additional acidity also came from the pear.

Sweetbreads - another daily special, with artichoke purée, finger lime, licorice, and fresh almonds.  lime and lemon emulsion.  The sweetbreads were nice and creamy inside, with a little sweetness.  The finger lime brought some sharp acidity but didn't overdo it.  The fresh almonds were beautiful.

Roasted Swedish pork belly - another dish that Hello Kitty chose to repeat, because how could anyone not like pork belly, Omega-3 or not??  It was cooked for 10 hours, and came with pumpkin purée, pumpkin seeds, hot sauce made with fermented carrots and chili, fermented garlic, and dried kale.  I was a happy camper tonight because I only had to share this dish with one person instead of two.   And that crackling!  But something seemed off tonight.  The kale was brushed with toasted garlic then dehydrated, so it wasn't deep-fried.  It tasted a little nutty, but a few of us thought it tasted like it had been fried with stale oil - you know, like the oil from a fast food joint which has gone through a few too many orders of French fries...  It kinda left a bad taste in our mouths.

Seeing that I was such a good boy and only two two snacks and shared five dishes, I decided to take BOTH ice creams on the menu, even though I've had both of them before.

Swedish blueberry ice cream - pastry cream with ginger at the bottom, and the ginger definitely showed tonight.  Ice cream made with blueberries caramelized for 24 hours, topped with caramelized honey, and almond sponge cake, confit lemon zest, and thin wafers of meringue.

Smoked ice cream - the familiar copper-colored dome came, and hot fudge was poured on top to melt it...  The ice cream was certainly smoky, and the cloves in the salted fudge was nice.  But I thought the walnuts tasted a little old and off.

This being a celebration and all, Chef RC and I brought along a couple of bottles for the occasion.

1996 Bruno Paillard Nec Plus Ultra, dégorgée en Janvier 2009 - not an aggressive wine at all... more subtle and very smooth.  Some oak in the nicely caramelized nose.  Good acidity on the palate but not too sharp, although slightly higher in the finish.  Towards the end it became a little leaner.

2011 Anne Boisson Meursault - very tight upon opening but showed plenty of heavy toast, with a hint of sweetness underneath.  After opening up a little and warming up in glass, showed more citrus, lemon zestm, and slightly less toast... and turned a little more elegant.

2006 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne - ripe on the palate, almost a little bitter on the finish.  Smooth and elegant.

This was a lot of fun, with good food, good wines, and good company.  We even ran into one of my favorite chefs in town who was enjoying a night off.  Can't wait till our next gathering.

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