So did they live up to their pedigree?
Saturday dinner is an a degustation meal for the whole table, five courses for $85, seven for $110 or nine for $125. There is a seven course vegetarian option ($75) and five half glasses of wine add $47 to the bill, seven adds $65. It is served in two large, simply furnished rooms carpeted and painted in antique tones. They were quiet and comfortable although the floor near our table needed re blocking and rocked every time a waiter passed, which was often. Rather than discussing and dissecting each of these dishes separately we will simply offer the menu descriptions with a few comments and a general comment at the end. Bread is one of our favourite things.
We did not have to wait or ask as it came before the first course which was a 48 degree oyster, cantaloupe melon...goat cheese
followed by Pairing of land and sea diver scallops... crispy chicken... garlic shoots...artichoke...foie gras.
The third dish was Oolong tea broth... shitake mushroom... onsen egg...asparagus...sot ly laisse, here shown before the tea was addedand after.
This beautiful looking dish was quite overwhelmed by the very strong tea which was copiously poured over it. It would have been much better if there had been much less tea so that the egg and the other ingredients could blend with their flavours. Next was gently poached marron...Jerusalem artichoke...concord grape puree and savoury granola.
This was an exquisite combination particularly well set off by the puree. The fifth course was crochetta di carni... sauce gribiche...quail egg confit...breakfast radish and parsley
was followed by grade 9+ Blackmore wagyu...daikon...passionfruit...tarragon and eda mame.
This could be substituted with either a lamb or duck dish for a $10 supplement but who would want to. This decent size piece of wagyu was magnificent. After this a tequilla ice cream fresh lime and salt
was a good example of the popular salt/sweet combination. The penultimate dish was a beaufort de saovie with watercress, hibiscus and virgin hazelnut oil.
This was a piece of art on a plate and illustrates the nature of the presentation of the meal., not only exceptionally varied and tasty but also a joy to behold. Finally we were offered an orange dessert but swapped it for a valhrona chocolate, crispy and soft with pear salsa and yogurt ice cream
Jim served us well and provided good explanations of the dishes. Without him we would have neede a food dictionary to have understood the menu. He also gave us excellent advice in regard to wines. They have a very good list of largely local wines at fair prices. We especially enjoyed an Epis and Williams 05 Cab. Merlot.
The menu begins with a little philosophy
“Creativity is born from originality, as well as a celebration of tradition and respecting ingredients. Techniques are based on concept and observation. To understand the meaning of cooking, we first should want to share. Every dish is a reflection of the cook’s personality, from silence and concentration; it demands purity and asserts itself…”