July 11, 2023

The secret with the golden egg

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V is back in town and I wanted to introduce him to a few more restaurants which had opened up during the pandemic years. Andō has always been a crowd-pleaser, and having Carlito gor gor around means they have an interesting wine list, too. Although we don't always see eye-to-eye on our wine selections, it's generally fun to exchange notes with him.

Even though I was here a few weeks ago, it has actually been quite a while since I took the full menu here, and almost all the dishes tonight are new to me. That's a good thing.

Once again, the team welcomed us with a glass of their blood orange tereré, which is a sparkling blood orange-flavored mate. Very refreshing and fruity, yet the mate flavors were clearly there.

We then had a trio of bites to start:

Wagyu beef tartare, cherry tomato, epazote - this was the miniature version of a dish I had last month. Got a nice little kick from the jalapeño sauce to go with the A4 wagyu.

Seaweed bocadito, cured tai - not sure I liked the bocadito with the texture, but flavors seemed OK and we've got fermented chilis.

Shima aji, aonori, rye - very kind of them to swap out the tuna for me. The aonori (青海苔) cream was nice.

Hamachi, escabeche, baby carrot, pearl onion, cumin - the yellowtail was done as escabeche with rice vinegar, paprika, and cumin - the latter was very obvious. The citrus notes were very fragrant and were easily detectable even while seated upright, without closing the distance to the plate. Garnished with shimeji (占地) mushrooms, carrots, and pearl onions. The acidity in the dish helped to whet the appetite.

Wakame steamed botan ebi, salmorejo, oscietra caviar - despite having been steamed, the botan shrimp (牡丹海老) was just barely cooked and came with caviar on top. The salmorejo was very nice with rich umami from the tomatoes, while there was the unmistakable note from garlic - marking a clear difference with gazpacho. The sherry vinegar drops made sure there was good acidity to further whet the appetite.

Departure: raw seafood selection -

Red seabream (鯛) - with cucumber, black olives, and radish.

Red bigeye (金時鯛) - with parsley, garlic, and wakame (若布) on top. The fish itself was marinated and flavor-wise almost similar to a fish braised in soy sauce and ginger. Very, very fine chiffonade of yuzu zest on top adds a little surprise.

Butterfish (真名鰹) - with fresh tiny paprika and pickled hyotan (瓢箪) which were very fruity.

Japanese spiny lobster (伊勢海老) - with akegarashi (あけがらし) along with steamed spinach and sesame, which bring classic flavors and worked very well with the lobster.

Shallot bread

El Mil del Poaig - the special olive oil from those 1,000-year-old olive trees. We also had some butter made from Hokkaido milk and flavored with some katsuobushi (鰹節).

Line-caught kinmedai, snow peas, parsley emulsion - the splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) was steamed with kombu and came with a row of snow pea pod sections on top of some beurre noisette, as well as some parsley and sake sauce. While the fish was predictably tasty and succulent, I'm not sure that in this case I liked the green flavors from the pea pods.

I know Goldfinger has included the pods in his dishes in the past, as a way to reduce food waste. It worked the last time I saw him do it, so I can understand why he would want to try again.

When the next dish was brought to our table, Nicolas brought along an empty wooden box and asked me to stick my phone in it, as I wasn't meant to take any pictures of the "secret" dish and post on social media. Of course, they know very well that my pics are taken with my MILC...

SECRET - WELL! This looks like a dish Goldfinger did a few months ago, which I had already seen on social media! The ramen comes with a "tonkotsu (豚骨)" broth made with the trotter and bone of Joselito jamón. Gotta say I really loved the flavors of the broth, which was rich without being too salty, and thick thanks to the collagen from pig trotters and (gasp!) chicken feet. The noodles were on the firm side with plenty of bite, which is my preference. The name "secret" actually refers to pieces of secreto which are, of course, just about the best cut from ibérico pigs. So, sooo tasty.

BUT... without a doubt, the best part was the soy-marinated soft-boiled egg that came with gold foil on top. I'm sure my life would have seriously sucked without this in my life... although I must say the egg was a little too salty for me.

Kumamoto wagyuArgentinian Angus beef, asparagus, pine nut romesco sauce - very happy that Goldfinger chose to serve us beef from his homeland rather than Japanese wagyu. The beef was marinated with chimichurri which made it even more tasty with some spicy kick. Served with romesco and the combination just worked so well.

Sin Lola: caldoso rice, chipirones, chorizo - the real signature dish. Love the acidity and smokiness from the chorizo.

Green apple, sake cream - diced green apple, apple sorbet infused with Andō's house sake, and caramelized pecans covered in a sake espuma. This was nice and refreshing, but I thought the pecans were a little too oily and clashed with the apple flavors.

Almond, saffron, honey ice cream - so we've got the crunchy bits surrounding the almond marzipan providing texture, and the saffron foam with a nice balance of acidity and richness to go with the sweet honey ice cream. Pretty nice.

I was very full by now, so I only wanted two little bites of mignardises. Somehow a third one magically appeared in front of me...

Lychee cushion - I love anything with lychee.

Hojicha biscuit

Banana and pecan cake - very moist, very tasty.

Carlito gor gor very kindly poured us a glass of Krug on the house to help us get started:

Krug Grande Cuvée, 171ème Édition, ID 122003 - nice brioche nose, love the toasty notes from Krug as always.

2013 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - definitely ripe and oxidized on the palate, soft and rounded. Some flint here but the nose was not too open. Much better after decanting and needed more than 40 minutes. Very ripe and sweet and buttery on the nose, and later on really sweet like cotton candy. At 10 years old this was already sliding down past its peak.

2017 Domaine Takahiko Soga Nana-Tsu-Mori - very fragrant and lovely nose with good savory but also floral notes that brings a smile to my face. A little jammy, too. Definitely lighter on the body. There is some aromatic eucalyptus with just a hint of green peppers, along with some plum. Good acidity on the palate. Certainly a pretty alluring wine.

We were also offered a glass of digestif...

Adorado de Menade, from demijohn - made using solera system where the mother dates back to 1967. Nose was fairly oxidized with savory mineral notes, nutty, and definitely more lean on the nose and closer to an amontillado. A little caramel here, too.

A pretty fun night out and always good to see V. Happy to have made the introduction to the team at Andō. Now I need to book my next dinner...

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