March 7, 2023

Golden balls

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It has, once again, been a few months since the Specialist and I had dinner together, and she thought we should meet up over a couple of nice bottles. Italian was the preferred cuisine, so I suggested Estro without much thought. After all, I've always been happy with my meals there.

Due to the Specialist's dietary restrictions, I had to contact the Juve Fan ahead of time, and he very kindly tailored a menu for us. While I would have preferred a shorter 6-course menu, I knew full well it was never going to happen... and in the end I didn't get the "half-portions" for the 8 courses that came along.

Compressed Italian pear - crunchy texture, with citrus notes from Crudino it was compressed in. On top we have some sweet emulsion and little bits of Taggiasca olives.

Semolina bread cushion - the tuna sauce filling was smoky, with tons of flavor and good acidity. Caper leaf on top.

Eggplant roll - with ricotta cheese filing.

Cold soup - made with tomato, cucumber, and green melon. Nice and savory but still good the acidity to balance.

Wild amberjack | "puntarelle", carrot, fig leaf - marinated overnight with capers, olives, and oregano. This was very nice, very soft with no crunch whatsoever. The carrot jus, fig leaf oil, and olive oil combination was pretty nice, and we've got some crunchy puntarelle on the side with some soy emulsion.

Blue lobster | Swiss chard, citrus sabayon - the citrus zabaglione gave us good acidity, while the chard stems came with a tiny bit of earthiness much like beetroot.

The homard bleu from Brittany was done perfectly mi cuit, and still got some crunch here.

Long scialatielli | king crab, Amalfi lemon - a favorite from last year and I'm glad I could have it again tonight. As before, there was the wonderful fragrance of the Amalfi lemons in that sauce made with zucchini. The king crab at the bottom had also been marinated with Amalfi lemons, and the sweetness of the crab just worked so beautifully with the fruitiness... and the whole dish just seemed lighter than it appeared. In keeping with the green theme, we've also got little bits of purslane adding a little bit of texture. Still a very beautiful dish now that it was once again served at temperature.

Bottoni | buffalo robiola, yellow tomato, basil - the Robiola di Bufala sauce inside was still very, very tasty, and the Datterino broth was pretty nice, especially with the little bit of basil on top.

Risotto | morel mushroom, melanosporum black truffle - I do believe this was the first risotto that the Juve Fan has served me. But from the look of this one could hardly tell, thanks to the rather generous layer of sliced Australian (Tasmanian?) black truffles on top.

One could sometimes accuse chefs of being gratuitous with shaving black truffle on top, but in this case it absolutely matched the flavors of a mélange of Italian and Chinese mushrooms in the risotto. There were also truffle brunoise mixed in. Very, very nice.

Sea bass | pistachio, capers - the fish was first steamed before being lightly branded with charcoal for some smokiness. The combination of the darker sauce made with Sicilian capers, fish bones, fish heads and the nuttier pistachio sauce was pretty interesting. The fish itself was, as one would expect, very fatty and tender.

Underneath the fish we have some barba di frate, which were crunchy and interesting. Very happy to have tasted something new.

Lamb | artichoke, mint, baby onion - hello baby, we meet again! This lamb from Castilla y León was possibly even more tasty than when I had it 2 months ago. Looooove the fat which delivered plenty of lamby goodness, and this was especially awesome as the fat was charred on the outside. I did find, though, that the sauce was a little too heavy-handed tonight.

Nocciola - all hazelnut, all the time... We've got parfait, mousse, crumble, and chips. With a little bit of lemon compote. Very delicious.

But of course, the most delicious part was most certainly these golden balls!

To finish, we had the trio once again:

Pistachio gelato - still very, very, very damn good. The Specialist liked this, too.

Lemon caprese cake

Tirasimu sphere

We were pretty civilized and just had two bottles tonight. Well... I know this was due to me being a lightweight, since the Specialist could surely drink more!

2013 La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc - beautiful nose with flinty and mineral notes, along with lemon. Nice ripeness on the palate but still got the acidity, with good depth.

2005 Pascal Lachaux Clos Saint Denis - drank around 1½ hours after opening without decanting. Very nice and fragrant, lots of fruit here, very sweet, with strawberries and red cherries. Started to go a little downhill 2½ hours after opening, perhaps. Drinking very nicely right now.

A happy evening, and I'm glad to report that the Specialist enjoyed her dinner.

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