This blog started 2011 as "Fine Food and Wine in Kuala Lumpur", a diary of food and wine adventures in KL. Through travel, this got subsumed into a broader global context. The blog looks to document food, wine and travel experiences mostly in Europe and Malaysia, also Japan, Scandinavia and India. I try to call it as I see, eat and drink it; if it's tasty, value and worth a return, I will look to say so. Type a city, country, restaurant, wine in the search box, see if I've been there?
Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Bistro a Table Boeuf Bourgignon - magnifique!
February 5th 2019 - Quick shout out to Chef Isadora for a superb Boeuf Bourguignon the other night at the Bistro a Table. I was originally going for one of the other four mains when she explained to a fellow guest that at least half a bottle of red per serving went into the dish. How to say no? It was full and vibrant, not overly rich but the intensity of the taste was excellent and perfect with a small bowl of truffle mash and some somewhat anaemic vegetables. Just enough to fully satisfy. Brilliant dish, happily go back for this one.
And a great idea for Yee Sang (tossing a range of coloured and mostly vegetable ingredients for luck and prosperity at CNY). Usually this is done around a round table of ten so that everyone can toss with the chopsticks. For the assembled 21, Chef had laid everything out on Cling Film along five tables so that everyone was able to happily toss themselves silly without making too much of a mess. Good Yee Sang too - sweet and crisp and without the syrupy yuck you sometimes get.
The other dishes were quite interesting - the half boiled egg with maple syrup and crushed croutons made for a good mouthful of crunchy gunk and goo and naturally was gangbusters with the fresh bead and butter (the asparagus dipper needed a slight twist of the imagination but kind of worked). The ricotta stuffed in battered Zucchini flowers were a pleasant bite, though I thought the salmorejo (puree of tomato, bread, salt, garlic and oil - I had to google it) didn't really add much in the way of vibrancy. Perhaps it was the combo of batter and ricotta seeming to end it all up as a deep fried cheese dumplings and which also made the batter a bit soggy. Didn't quite do it for me.
Coddled Egg with Crouton Dust
Sweetbreads I found texturally excellent if perhaps a shade bland, though the Okra Seeds and Foie Gras livened up the palate - again, the bread and butter helped the combo come through. Maybe I just needed a dab of Fleur de Sel.
I don't recall much in the way of herbal additions. My experiences of dishes getting heightened and seared into memory increasingly seem to involve the genius addition of something herby - a sprig of rosemary or some mustard cress or thyme that adds a little pop somehow seems to elevate the thing and helps prevent the dish fading into the forgettable.
Zucchini Flower Fritters
I enjoyed the desserts - each of us got either one or the other and were able to share with partners or across the table. The Pineapple tart had the slight edge as a result of the cream and crumb combo underpinning the sharp intense sweetness of the pineapple layers. The Pavlova was a mouth melter and seemed to vaporise on contact with the tongue - very pleasant.
Didn't get a chance to sample the other mains. The rest of the table of 21 hoovered the lot down without barely batting an eyelid nor passing much comment on anything. Wines for the night (can't remember the names) were CdP white (very pleasant, crisp and biting) and CdP red (light texture, firm tannins, could have used a bit more heft for the Bourgignon) which I think were suggested by Chef. Very good choices - versatile yet with sufficient interest and layers for those inclined toward connoisseurship. Ahem.
Boeuf Bourgignon - stunner
Good food and wine service by the staff once they had figured out what wine you wanted and went back to get the proper glass for it. Good range of plateware to showcase the dishes. I can't recall whether tablecloths were laid and the photos are ambivalent - I half recall my reserve booze bag going under something, but I have no full memory on it. Not that anything on or off the table detracted from the sense of occasion the Bistro ambience lent to the party, just that given that half the party was under tthe age of twelve then not using tablecloths would have been a sound decision - food fights and messy eating.
Chef was in fine form, joking with the dinner organisers and taking all the orders on the night (presumably as a result of it being 1st day of Chinese New Year and maitre d' being on leave). I think she couldn't quite remember who I was (a condition I can heartily relate to) but that's all right - I am far from what could be called anything like a regular and not instantly memorable at the best of times. And people with photographic memories for names and faces they have met once and can instantly recall make me want to spit. I know you can get training for the memory, but I could never be arsed - not having such a snappy brain somehow makes me feel more normal. There you go. What's your name again?
Private Degustation Tuesday 5th February 2019 for 21 guests
Signature Maple Syrup Coddled Egg with Crouton Dust and Fleur de Sel (V)
Zucchini Flower Fritters stuffed with Housemade Ricotta and Salmorejo (V)
Veal Sweetbreads with Okra Seeds and FoieStrozzapreti Gras Emulsion
Choice of Mains
Handmade Strozzapreti with Shaved Bottarga and Truffles
Seafood Bouillabaisse with Rouille
NZ Rack of Lamb with Crispy Lamb Trimmings and Smoked Eggplant puree (GF)
Boeuf Bourguignon with Truffled Mash Potatoes
Pineapple and Vanilla Bean Tart Tatin and Fromage Blanc Ice Cream
Pomelo Pavlova with Candied Kaffir Lime Leaves
V - Vegetarian
GF - Gluten Free
Strozzapreti - twisted Italian pasta bits, literal translation is "priest stranglers/chokers"
Bottarga - slated, cured fish roe (from Grey Mullet or Tuna) - "Mediterranean caviar"
Rouille - a sauce made from pounding red chillies, garlic, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients and blended with stock