January 5, 2023

Panettone from the terrone

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Just two nights after our first team dinner of the year, the team gathered again for a second dinner - this time with the boss, who had missed out on the first event. I gave the team a choice of 4 restaurants and asked them to rank their choices - and the ranked choice voting delivered Estro as the winner. So... I went back again less than two weeks after my last dinner.

With the 8 of us, this was my first time being in the private dining room, and we were already at maximum capacity. The irregular-shaped table meant some of us were getting a little cozy with our neighbors...

Juve Fan put together a menu of a few signature dishes, considering that most of the team has never been here. There are a few dishes I don't mind repeating, of course...

Zucchini tart - with lemon and lime.

Eggplant roll - with ricotta.

Cushion with red bell pepper

Clarified drink - made with tomato, cucumber, and green melon. Just like last time. Slurp.

Red prawn ∣ panna cotta, lemon, caviar - well... I guess the first-timers gotta get the caviar treatment! After all, this is one of Juve Fan's signature dishes.

So... underneath the layer of caviar from the Royal Caviar Club we had panna cotta made with fennel along with red prawn tartare. The little touch of lemon adds just the right amount of highlight. The white dots on top are, apparently, vegan mayonnaise...

Seabass | vegetable caponata, olive compote, puttanesca sauce - the Spanish seabass was steamed before torching the skin. The spinach "bon bon" on the side contained a filling of caponata, which I found more sweet than sour. Pretty nice.

Long scialatielli | king crab, Amalfi lemon - no doubt Juve Fan took note that I listed this dish as one of the best dishes I had in 2022. Unfortunately this would not be a repeat in 2023... While the dish was still pretty tasty and I still loved the sauce with that touch of sweetness working well with the crab, the serving temperature was barely lukewarm.

An extra course of pasta magically appeared, and it happened to be the dish that I had just "liked" on social media hours ago.

Gnocchetti | turnip tops - served with a sauce of cime di rapa as well as the bitter buds and leaves on top. I loved the bitterness of the greens 2 weeks ago, and I was happy to taste it again, especially when it was tempered with some ricotta di bufala.

Buttoni | saffron, gold - I was sad to discover that I did not get more gold than the others tonight. I wasn't very special... sniff... But I did manage to see some actual saffron in addition to the saffron and chicken jus, and of course the Robiola di Bufala sauce inside the buttoni were so, so tasty.

Lamb | artichoke, mint, baby onion - the Spanish lamb came with both the rack as well as the loin... both of which were fatty and lamby. So, so succulent and sinful. I would have liked to have a couple of more pieces of the rack.

Cioccolato - chocolate mousse, tuile, sorbet, and torta caprese. Classic combination here.

Pistachio gelato - YES!!! Love, love, LOOOOVE this.

Lemon caprese cake

Tirasimu sphere

Panettone - I had jokingly complained about not getting any panettone for my Christmas Eve service, so Juve Fan very generously served us some from none other than Niko Romito. This one didn't come stuffed full of raisins and candied citrus peel, but was nevertheless very fragrant, light, and fluffy.

We had an extra body compared to two nights ago, but ended up consuming the same amount of alcohol...

Chartogne-Taillet Les Couarres, dégorgée septembre 2020 - lots of heady mousse. Acidity was clearly higher because of the low dosage.

2017 Benanti Petra Marina - pretty aromatic. Some acidity here on the palate.

2017 Charles Van Canneyt Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers - pretty nice fruit like black cherries. Pretty nice and surprisingly accessible.

2007 Gaja Sorì San Lorenzo - nice herbs, smoke, leather, and some plums.

Very happy to have had another good meal with the team. Now I'm just counting down the days I get to spend with these guys...

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