December 13, 2018

The autumn forest

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I've been a terrible friend.  I have only paid a single visit this year to my friend Uwe Opocensky's eponymous restaurant this year, and he's been very patient... waiting for me to visit.  I did manage to catch up with him a few weeks ago over dinner, and I figured it was time to make a visit to Uwe before year end.  So I roped in The Great One and, to my surprise, the Kat decided that he wanted to come along.

Candle and tea - we started with the bone marrow candle, and we soaked up the liquid with some sourdough bread.

Next we ripped open a package and extracted a tea bag, which we placed into a lovely porcelain cup.  The soluble bag - made of wild mushroom gelatin - contains wild mushrooms and herbs.

Then consommé is poured into the cup, the bag dissolves, and we are left with a very mushroom-y tea.  A great way to start our meal by warming the stomach.

During this season, Uwe always hangs a tree upside down from the ceiling, but tonight there was an extra tree that gets wheeled around to each table...

Mushroom tree - Uwe thinks he's found the only tree of its kind, from which he can harvest special mushrooms...

After harvesting, the foie gras mushrooms are plated on top of some pickled chanterelle mushrooms, which themselves sit on a bed of venison tartare.  Arranged around the central pile were fallen leaves, edible sand, roasted salsify, and black termite mushrooms. The pickle juice gave the tartare a nice dose of acidity.

We had some brioche logs on which we could spread the foie gras.

Celeriac and chestnut - the celeriac is baked in hay in salt.  Part of it is served as a ball, then the rest is puréed and plated with fresh chestnuts.  Of course, a little bit of cheese and black truffle grated with Microplane doesn't hurt... dressed with some truffle sauce.

Pumpkin - a Japanese pumpkin grown in Tai O, roasted for 3 hours.  After the flesh was extracted, Uwe added some Comté cream, pumpkin seed oil, shaved white truffle, nasturtium, and grated Comté on top.  Very fragrant, very delicious.

Red prawn - YASSSSS!!!! I love, love, love red prawns.  The tail was just sooooo delicious, and there was a small dot of sauce made from fermenting prawn heads and shells.  Yes, it was almost like Marmite. 

But I was happiest sucking on those giant prawn heads, and thanks to Hello Kitty, I managed to enjoy two.  So I decided to scoop the contents of one of the heads and spread them on top of my sourdough bread.

Trout - the cherry salmon (桜鱒) from Hokkaido came served three different ways.  First up was the belly as sashimi, with condiments such as sea salt, homemade XO sauce, hibiscus salt, homemade shichimi (七味).

Second serving was balik which had been grilled and smoked.  For some reason these came with avocado on the side, but I preferred just the fish by itself.

Finally, we have the grilled fish head.  Very yum. For me, at least...

Quail - these quails from Bresse were aged for 2 weeks.  Smoked over hay for about 40 minutes before being hung over open fire and cooked for 45 minutes.  The glaze came from fermenting the wings.  Very, very nice.

Mieral duck and venison - the mallard duck from Mieral came with the duck's heart seasoned with Sichuan pepper.  The venison came from Rhug Estate.  Blackberry and dark chocolate sauce.

The duck was nearly perfect, and came served with a kumquat along with some artistic expressions... made with chocolate and cep powder.

The pithiviers was done with Comté, Japanese Hokkaido potatoes, and some tasty shallots.

I have always loved Uwe's grandma's red cabbage, and I was so happy to have it again.

Tarte tatin - with some vanilla pods and a cinnamon stick on top, along with some star anise.

Made with Bramley apples.  Classic and delicious.  Hello Kitty was a happy camper.

I've always loved the vanilla ice cream with smoked caramel, and even better with rum raisins on top.

Apple strudel - a proper strudel made using a recipe from Uwe's mother.  Nowadays, though, I will always remember Colonel Hans Landa telling Emmanuelle Mimieux "Attendez la crème!". And so I did...

Nice petits fours

We started with some Champagne, and moved on to two reds we brought along.

Ulysse Collin Les Maillons, dégorgée mars 2018 - lovely nose of red fruits, full of ripeness.  Nice depth on the palate.

2006 Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5° - really alcoholic, a little too sharp, very ripe fruit but not too sweet.  Nice aromatics on the nose.

2006 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon - ripe and minty on the nose.  So much concentration here, and still got the tannins.

We had a very good time.  Food here is always honestly delicious, without much razzle dazzle.  So happy to have come back just before Christmas.

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