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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Magnificent lunch setting in St Emilion France

Souvenir shop in St Emilion

Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong Mondot
Lunch on Wednesday 17th April 2013

Waking up on Day four of our Pilgrimage through the Shrines of Food and Wine, another glorious day looked in prospect with brilliant blue skies and blazing sunshine greeting our breakfast view across the neighbouring lake. Indeed, boarding the tour bus the sweaters and coats got discarded quite quickly. The ealry morning spring nip went quite quickly.

We were without two members who had left to go tasting. We almost left without two more as they seemed to be taking their time getting ready and the bus was getting impatient to be underway. "Come on, let's go!!" cried a nameless one. "Give them a minute, I'll go and see where they are." As I got down, they came scrambling out and sheepishly crept on board past the glare of shame from the seated. "They shall be fined a bottle of First Growth," proclaimed the Governor. "Each." We presume he was joking - leastways there has been no sign of the bottle from the guilty and no attempt to enforce the punishment. 

St Emilion Church
Thirty minutes later saw us being offloaded at a roadside with an instruction from our driver to "take zat road zere and walk for ten minoootes. Ai will be back 'ere at zis place at eleven thirty. You all mus' be 'ere, ozzerwise you weel be lef' be'aind." So warned, we meandered up ze road and found ourselves in the centre of what must surely rank as one of the most charming towns in France. 

A UNESCO world heritage site with a history stretching back to prehistoric times, St Emilion is both a commune and an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) for Bordeaux wine. Named after the travelling monk who settled there in the 8th century, Frere Emilion's followers continued what the Romans had started and developed its commercial wine production. This must have proved a most welcome stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago del Compostela as a place for rest and revival. The village itself is unimaginably pretty, dotted throughout with Roman ruins and Romanesque buildings and dominated by the Gothic style church, which seems to feature in every photo you could want to take.

Overlooking the town
Although not large, St Emilion town is just hugely pretty, especially when it is lit up by brilliant blue skies and gleaming sunshine. Everywhere we looked, all we could see were stores selling wine or wine related gifts and accessories. Even the cafes and patisseries had some wines for sale. We all spent a most pleasant morning wandering along the narrow cobbled streets and mooching in the shops. Some members were clearly thirsty, some having stopped for a mid morning glass of fizz to enjoy the sunshine and bubbles. We bought some Armagnac which our Doc later claimed to be the best he has ever tasted. It is nice, we have half a bottle left. It won't last long.

Our driver's admonition clearly did the trick because no one was late when he arrived to pick us up. Even our two MIA wine tasters had made it back and were raging enthusiastically about the wines they had supped. Seems the Pape Clement drew top honours - hopefully we'll have a bottle or six procured for the IWFS in KL. Hope I'm still around to drink it….

Lunch setting at Les Belles Perdrix
A ten minute drive up the hill brought us to the entrance of the Chateau Troplong Mondot (pronounced Troe Long Mondoe). Disembarking we were ushered around the back - "the tradesman's entrance" someone quipped -  and assembled on a patch of grass at the wineyard doorway. Here we got our first view of where our lunch would be and it was delightful - under an awning with a superb prospect of St Emilion village on one side below and across the Chateau's vines and landscape. Totally picture perfect in the midday sunshine and a magnificent setting. Some of the best photos of the trip were taken here - the lighting and colours were superb. 

The Foie Gras that turned...
A brief and frankly fairly forgettable tour of the vineyard followed and we got sat for our lunch. 

There are very few notes on the lunch here at Les Belles Perdrix, partly because I felt a need to get some respite from a combination of French Foie Gras and Italian carbonated water. Something reacted which necessitated a walking break to let things settle. So much for any Entente Cordiale between French food and Italian water. The notes say that the beef was tough, the cheese was good, the serving staff were entertaining and the the Chateau Troplong Mondot 2004 is excellent. Supple, velvet, merlot fruit, good structure - a good lunch wine, superb with the cheese, though conventional wisdom holds that one shouldn't strictly judge a wine with cheese. Ah, what the heck - if it tastes good then roll with it. 

The Big Macaron
And the Macaron was excellent. I now understand why some people go sparky gaga over Macarons. This was crisp and sweet and the lightest of crunches which made the thing evaporate. And this one was big, earning it the inevitable label of a "Big Mac". Indeed. Who said we foodies lack wit?

It was a lunch of sunshine and spring breeezes. And dogs. Two dogs from the Chateau came over to say hello and get a scratch. As I remember I offered one of the wuffers some of my beef. He refused. Res ipsa loquitur.  

Friend Li Dong picked this moment to tell me she had lost a book on Lisbon that I had lent to her and she would replace it. It was perfect timing. How to get mad in a moment like this?  Damn smart, that girl. Didn't have the heart to tell her the book only cost me three ringgit. I am still waiting for the replacement. 

In sum, a fantastic venue but only a good to so-so meal. Would return for the location and the Big Mac though not particularly impressed with the beef on this occasion. May need to be brazen next time and ask the chef whether the beef needs a whack with a 3-wood to tenderize it into something a little more chewable. I can do that.

Li Dong preparing to confess about the lost book
Fig Foie Gras Terrine
Apple Chutney, Gingerbread Toast

Pan-Fried Beef Filet
Slow Cooked Shallots, Red Wine Sauce
Potato and Cep Mushroom Cake

Cheese and Jam from the orchard
Macaron "Belles Perdrix"

The Wines
Mondot 2007
Chateau Troplong Mondot 2004

IWFS KL getting ready for lunch

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tatto - Starship ambiance, fabulous prawns!

Seems to have been quite a week for Italian cuisine. Starting with a visit to Icook in Sri Hartamas with foodie friends from the Amante della Cucina Italia on Thursday 6th, we were at the Gallo D'Oro in Singapore on Friday 7th, Favola in Le Meridien on Tuesday 11th and now with the IWFS at Tatto on Thursday 13th. An old friend we ran into said I had put on weight. I wonder why. Am indeed feeling darn fat and in need of a good stretch of starvation and exercise. Feels like I need a good vacation from food though it doesn't look like one is in prospect, not with the IWFS APZ taking place here in Kuala Lumpur in two weeks. I'm pretty sure that I will pack all this food and wine lark in at some time and take a long break from both. Just doesn't seem like it will happen just yet. Lenglui likes to wine and dine and needs a partner. What to do?

Dr Su Kim and Dr Stephen Hall
For the June event it was decided to focus on Italian cuisine and to resample the talents of owner Yenti and Chef Awin at the Tatto restaurant. One main reason for doing so was that the Tatto had moved from its one storey Bungalow origins on a sleepy backroad in KL (which I never got to visit) to a fabulous new location, complete with a totally new concept and kitchen. In terms of physical distance, it works out to about a thousand yards from the old place in Jalan Damai to the new one in the upscale Hampshire Park residence. But in terms of ambiance it has to be light years apart. Indeed, the new place looked like something out of Star Trek - all swish and whoosh and glass and grey steel. The table settings were neat and the rather smallish tables overflowing with cutlery and glassware. In this, though, the restaurant asserts to being particular in staying true to its founding principle of offering a space for guests to enjoy great Italian food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. And in this, it generally succeeded. 

David Teh and Paul Ravelli
Billed as ‘Great Italian Creations at Tatto Restaurant’ the evening saw 40 IWFS members and guests sign up for the dinner. Slight delays in arriving and finding the place meant that we missed the canapes - given my present state of fatness as pointed out by that old friend, perhaps no bad thing. But it would have been good to try the Smoked salmon crepe with cream fraiche and black caviar with the fizz. So it goes - can't eat everything, eh? 

Datin Sandra Raj and Andy Robinson
I have no notes of the fizz, though extra glasses were readily accepted. Nicely cold and smoothly cleansing, the Doc's notes say the Tanzer 90 point Ca del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta NV is a "fresh, medium bodied, textbook rendition of Franciacorta, with good finishing mineral notes."  A blend of 75% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Blanc, it is medium body, straw-gold in colour and showing ripe pear and apple skin nose complemented by hazelnut and yeasty nuances. Rich citrus and white stone fruit "sing on the palate, conveying a fresh gently honeyed quality." Doc is getting quite lyrical of late. His notes also say that the producer's "artisanal methods and obsession to quality is reminiscent of Krug in Champagne." Wow. We found it nicely complex, well chilled and balanced, and an even, smoothly cleansing full mouthful of bubbles. Maybe next time IWFS can provide a Krug so we can compare, yes? Yes. In dreams.

Breaded Portobello with Truffle Poached Egg.
First out was the Breaded Portobello with truffle poached egg and crispy smoked duck. This was lovely - a light poached egg over the duck crusted mushroom. At least I guess that that was where the duck was. It was the only other thing on the plate. Otherwise, my duck must have flown off somewhere. The combo was champion, and sent into the next level by the pop of shredded truffle on the egg. A hunk of toasted white bread satisfied the plate clearer in me and soaked up the remains of runny egg and truffle for consumption. Very good start.

Saucing up the Tiger Prawns
The first of the two whites from one of Italy’s foremost winemakers was served - the Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio 2009. Nestling in the northern Alto Adige mountainous region and biodynamic since 2004, the vines enjoy a long season of warm sunny days and cool nights that help to preserve the grapes’ natural aromas and acidity.  The notes say the PG "holds a brilliant straw yellow colour with a green shimmer. Very perfumed, rich, slightly smoky uplifted varietal aroma paired with elegant oak spice. Clean, grapey, full bodied flavour, quite soft and creamy, delicate and with a fresh finish."  We got crisp clean pears and floral nose in a well balanced finished. A light bodied chugger to swoosh down the food, though maybe a little too light for the duck mushroom. At least it didn't get in the way, which sometimes is what the food needs. In this sense, the pairing pretty much worked.  

The second white came out ahead of the dish - the Gewurztraminer Suditirol Alto Adige 2011. The notes spoke of it being "gently aromatic with floral rose petal and geranium notes; the palate is racy, dry and light without any heavy Gewurz oiliness and the fruit clean, citrusy and perfumed."  We got spice and violets on the nose, light body, clean and fresh and an endless finish. Nicely complex and firm in structure, it drank like fresh breezes across open fields on a summer's day. Total Belter.  

Deep Fried Tiger Prawns in Capellini
It was even more belter with the Deep Fried Tiger Prawns rolled with capellini in putanesca sauce. These looked similar to Country Prawns we used to get at a local Chinese restaurant - the Prawns would be fried in oil and wrapped in Bee Hoon (equivalent of Vermicelli but rice based) and dipped back in the hot oil and usually served with mayonaisse. Today's Tigers were wonderful, having that firm bite that only really fresh sea prawns can give. Didn't feel like farm ones, these. The capellini gave nice carbo filling and crunch to the prawn and the whole brought out a ripe peach nectarine note in the Gewurtz. This wine gave and then gave some more. Seriously good, this was the dish and the pairing of the night. 

Luciano Sandrone Dolcetta D'Alba 2011
The notes say the Luciano Sandrone Dolcetta D’Alba 2011 [RP 89] is a standout as a result of "its silky personality and utter refinement" given that the vintage produced mostly big and powerful wines. "Floral notes meld into expressive dark blue and black varietal in a gracious, mid-weight Dolcetto of incomparable elegance and finesse [whilst] firm tannins appear on the finish to support the fruit and add balance." Okay…. She certainly had character, though not so much as to be a shining star. I got a cherry sodapop nose with damson and a whack of persimmon. Light to medium body, good grip and structure, firm and full on the finish with blackcurrants and sourish cherry. Give this lady a masculine pizza of salami and mozzarella and they'd be tearing down the walls. 

Poached Scottish Salmon
It was the wine of choice for the Poached Scottish salmon with braised red cabbage with lemon, tarragon and garlic sauce, though the fish really needed a big white wine with more acidity to tame the oil and flavour. It was good - excellently poached with a light bounce in the bite and only lightly salted with little else to let the beautiful tasting fish speak for itself. It was a big chunk of it as well - no one could complain about portions with this serving. The cabbage initially smelt very sweet but tasted sourish, as if it had been soaked in a wine reduction of some kind. Whatever, it gave a cute bump to the fish in the mouth. 

Beef Tenderloin
I didn't get to try the Tenderloin, though the verdict of the table was that it was excellent. Got to try the wine, though - the Campo Al Mare, Baia Al Vento, Bolgheri Superiore 2008 [WA 91]. A blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, the notes say the wine shows "a deep ruby red with blueish tint, the wine has aromas and flavours of red berries with an herb and tobacco under note. It is powerful and full-bodied with elegant tannins and a long finish."  

We agree.  A full on nose of tight blackberry and lean apples. Lots of herbs, which might have been oregano but was something definitely italian. Full bodied, lot of depth, even tannins and layers of flavours with a rich chocolate mouth. Seems that alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place in steel before the wine is matured in oak barrels. A good full wine on which to end a great evening. 

Pina Colada Millefoglie
Dessert of Pina colada millefoglie with white chocolate and coconut mousse felt like a slice of firm crunchy pear crunch with pastry and cream and topped with a sugary crisp wafer. Excellent with the coffee.

Service throughout the night was most pleasant - all the staff are young, keen, and eager to please and clearly know their way around the table - well trained and it showed. 

Tatto Chef Awin, Tatto owner Yenti, Dato' Jeremy Diamond and IWFS KL President Dr Rajan
Malaysian born Chef Awin came out to take a bow along with owner Yenti. Seems he began modestly in Modesto's and in the 15 years since he has worked his magic in the kitchens of some of KL's Italian restaurants of legend - Ciao, Scallini’s, Ciccio and Cipolla. He has been at the helm of the Tatto kitchen since its inception three years ago and creates dishes that are "Modern Italian with a Malaysian Touch". It also seems he draws his inspiration from the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Giovanni Rizzi and enjoys creating new and fresh dishes for his regular patrons. In this, chef clearly has not absorbed those more confrontational aspects of Chef Ramsay's style of kitchen management. No swear words or cursing all night. Didn't happen. Kitchen proved quietly efficient. Phew. 

Dr and Mrs Jagjeet Singh
We got a pop of orangecello from Yenti as we were finishing up. Clearly similar in style to Limoncello, this was less sweet and felt a bit like a lean Cointreau without that massive sugar kick it usually gives. 

In sum, a very pleasant evening. Good Italian food and wines in a fabulous modern restaurant. Go back there to eat? With the IWFS, yes. A good rowdy crowd with wines and goodwill helps the place to come to life. Maybe also with a business partner to entertain. Otherwise, it felt a shade too cool for intimacy, and if you're looking for to share a romantic evening with a special one, perhaps the cavernous and swish nature of the new Tatto might prove a bit intimidating. A great restaurant, nonetheless. The Egg Portobello and Tiger Prawns are worth the trip. 

YC Yap and the Lenglui
Tatto "Modern Italian with a Malaysian Touch"
A-G-1Hampshire Place Office
157 Hampshire
1 Jalan Mayang Sari
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel 03-2166 5212
Fax 03-2166 4212
email tatto@tatto.com.my
website www.tatto.com.my

‘Great Italian Creations’ Menu

Pre-Dinner Canapes
Ca del Bosco Cuvee - the remains
Spanish cecina ham wrapped melon
Baby potato filled with gorgonzola mouse
Smoked salmon crepe with cream fraiche and black caviar

Ca del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta NV

Breaded Portobello with truffle poached egg and crispy smoked duck

Alios Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio 2009 

Deep fried tiger prawns rolled with capellini in putanesca sauce

Alois Lageder Gewurztramminer Suditirol Alto Adige 2011

Main Course
Campo Al Mare, Bolgheri Superiore 2008
Poached Scottish salmon with braised red cabbage with lemon, tarragon and garlic sauce
Pan roast grain feed beef tenderloin with camembert, pea terrine, onion crumbs and mustard béarnaise

Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto D’Alba 2011
Campo Al Mare, Baia Al Vento, Bolgheri Superiore 2008

Pina colada millefoglie with white chocolate and coconut mousse

Coffee or Tea

Photos and text Brian McIntyre 2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Banfi Wine Dinner - Excellent Food, below average wines

Banfi Wine Dinner at Favola, Le Meridien June 11th 2013

I don't know what it is about Banfi wines. I see them in the supermarket and look at their prices and think I don't really want to pay that price and question whether the wine is that good for the price they are asking?  We tried one of the low end ones one time with a dinner at the Vila Danieli Restaurant at The Sheraton Kuala Lumpur and it was fairly non descript but okay enough to push the food down. So it was with a mix of apprehension with intrigue we greeted the knowledge that some of them would be offered with the quality Italian food at the Favola. 

Guillaume Blanchard of Castello Banfi
The Doc again had texted the deal and booked for us so as to get a discount on the deal. A 7pm start was observed by us but few others as is customary in KL - Malaysian time is legendary - though we got served with some most pleasant fizzy something or other. Being the only ones there, we got loaded up with the appetisers and were in early danger of getting too full for dinner. As it was, some of the appetisers for me ensured no repeat servings, in particular the Salmon, Mushroom and Tomato Bruschetta. These were fresh and lively though the Bruschetta bread had WAY too much pepper for the tongue. Other appetisers of Tempura seafood were good with the Prawn proving crunchy, fresh and excellent. Third appetiser was a mouthful of Buratina with olive oil and Pine Nut that was mouth tingling and creamy gooey and got washed down nicely with the pleasant fizzy something or other. Couldn't find any info on the website. New friend from Banfi Guilaume Blanchard in his opening address said it was a blend of Muscat and something and had a natural fizz about it which sweetly swooshed the cheese coating from the roof of the mouth and went most pleasantly with the Tempura. It was sweet, honey, cleansing fizz, though it needs to stay very cold - once it warmed in the glass it tasted like syrup water.

The 2012 Banfi Fumaio Toscana IGT is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with the SB more in evidence on this presentation. This presented a somewhat confused result of raw apples and sharp limes and a sour sherbet tongue and finish. Lots of minerality and granite, but somewhat lacking - neither one nor the other and a marriage that did not work for me. Bit confused with this one. Think the wine also was a bit confused. A confused wine who doesn't really know who she is. Definitely a she, this one - a blonde, cute, but a shy and uncertain she. 

Antipasti Marinated Butterfish and Octopus
The Antipasti Butterfish was magnificent, all soft flesh mouthmeltingly sweet and given a mustard pop by a wasabi pesto sauce. The octopus was a bit firm, but went equally well with a cheesy butter wasabi dip to which Caviar pearls gave a sneaky salty kick. Both tamed the Fumaio's acidity a shade, though not really enough to raise it to real drinkability. We all refused top ups, which for us was a definite first - don't remember ever refusing a top up before.

The Colle Pino blend of Sangiovese and Merlot had a big dark cherry nose with chocolate and gunmetal on the palate. A smooth and easy drinker with a clean early though slightly harsh finish thanks to enthusiastic tannins. A decent quaffing wine, though not one that the table felt enthusiastic enough to rave about. Again, top ups were refused. 

Beetroot Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce
The Beetroot Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce were an excellent match, with beetroot sweetness undercutting gnocchi fresh potato bite. It was all smooth cream and sweet beetroot with slightly firmish gnocchi all combining into a milky chew which blitzed the mouth a real treat with exploding lush waves of something that left you sucking your cheeks hoping the whole thing would not end. Great texture and fantastic mouth feel. The combo took the tannin off the wine, though as with the first wine and Antipasti not really enough to do much with it. Maybe a quaffing wine for pizza and pool parties, but would need a good chilling - at room temperature it drinks a bit harsh. 

The 2009 Chianti Classico was a bit farmyard stinky at first and opened out only slightly. It felt a little bit fausty in the mouth, as if in need of a decant from too long in the cellar. Sour cherry mouth and tartish finish, though the table seemed to enjoy it well enough. Lacked a bit of finesse for me. Not sure of the price point of this one, but assuming around RM120 there's better on the supermarket shelves and from the distributors at this price. 

Roast Cod on Green Polenta Cake
The Roast Cod on Green Polenta Cake is buttery sweet and fleshy flakes of ultimately bland tasting fish. Light and with good bounce on the bite, it didn't really pair well with the wine. Had the Chianti been a bit more refined, then maybe. As it was, there was not enough in the fish to cut through the 2009. It was a bit too aggressive. The Polenta was a shade on the stodgy side whilst the sauce felt a shade thin and tasting of Red Peppers. Shellfish felt a bit old - it had that overcooked and soft bite feel which always makes me not quite trust it. Even so, no one else on the table said anything. Too distrustful of shellfish is my problem.

The Vigne Regali Rose Regale came across like fizzy high end cough syrup - cherry popsicle with gobs of honey but having a good dose of acidity that kept the whole thing in a nice sweetly crisp balance. 

Milk Risotto with Cherry Parfait
The Milk Risotto with Cherry Parfait Dessert was fabulous - sweet cherry and dark chocolate with fresh milky cream rice pudding. It was reminiscent of the rice puddings with a dollop of strawberry jam we got at school dinner pudding but way, way better. This one was totally epic. 

Not sure who took the decision to pair the Rogale but it got completely killed by dessert. Too much sweetness. Shame there wasn't any more of the first available - a freezing cold drop would have made for an interesting comparison. 

In sum, excellent food with below average wines. They came across as ordinary and a bit snuzz and, apart from the first and last, not really enough in them to warrant a purchase. The food was way better and excellent and deserving of some higher end wine to do it justice. One would hope that AsiaEuro offer a better selection if they run a Banfi wine dinner in the future. Certainly, those bottles in the supermarket won't be getting bought by me.

As a post script, the stomach was a bit grumbly during the night. Not sure if it was the wine but it did feel reminiscent of the way we would feel as students after a night on the Manky Red we would drink as students at Piero's Wine Bar in Cardiff. Good nights, but the wine was rough as buggery. Felt the same. Maybe it was the cumulative effect of all the wines, but the experimenting with the grape blending didn't work for me. Fair credit for trying things out and going against traditional blends, but I don't think I'll be drinking much Banfi in the future. Leastways not the lower end. Have to wait until someone splurges a punt on one of the higher end ones. 

Marinated Octopus and Butterfish
2012 Banfi Fumaio Toscana IGT

Beetroot Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce
2011 Banfi Colle Pino Toscana IGT

Chicken Breast with Chestnut and Truffle
Roasted Cod on Green Polenta Cake,
Seafood in Saffron and Tomato Broth
2009 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

Milk Risotto with Cherry Parfait
2012 Vigne Regali Rosa Regale

Rang Mahal - Fire and spice, massive mark up on wines.

Bored with the usual Crystal Jade routine, it was suggested that we go try top end Indian cuisine for a change. Good as the Crystal Jade continues to be, sometimes the belly just needs some spice with the rice. The Rang Mahal at the Pan Pacific got suggested by Ell Tee, saying that as a lunchtime regular the food was good. So. Decided. 

Established in 1971, the Rang Mahal offers fine-dining Indian cuisine and serves "traditional authentic North Indian food" and seeks to achieve top standard dishes using the finest ingredients complemented with award-winning service standards. It had recently reopened following renovations and now sports a modern look that presumably seeks to marry a contemporary ambiance with the timeless elegance for which the Rang Mahal was presumably known. 

Elegant it certainly was, with a circus like entrance along a dimly lit red draped dark tunnel and into the elegantly tabled brown and beige that was the main dining area. The ambiance was Western modern, with occasional ornamental nods to a Moghul heritage. A nice touch was bright mandalas being projected onto the ceiling from lamps nestled in a central room divider. 

For a Saturday night, it was about 40% full, mostly guests of Indian descent which usually speaks more about the quality than a bookful of reviews. 

We shared Tandoori Chicken on the bone which had a marinade of fresh yoghurt and garam masala. The spice was not as fiery as expected, but was nicely warming so as not to burn the mouth. The chicken was lovely, tender and succulent. 

We also shared the Palak Paneer, a wholesome cottage cheese cooked in spinach based gravy with chopped onion, garlic and green chillies. The spinach gravy had a gunky like texture which laid a healthy green underlay for the cubes of presumably roasted cottage cheese. The combination felt somewhat lighter than Palak Paneer tasted elsewhere, presumably due to the quality of ingredient used. It definitely benefitted from pairing it with the garlic nan to firm things up. 

Star of the night was the Raarha Gosht, a robust delicacy of lamb chunks cooked in fiery hand pounded spices. The sauce was spice heaven, with a thickish texture that the lamb had soaked in during the cooking. The lamb itself was excellent, tender and evidently young given the absence of toughness in the chew. 

We also had what tasted like stoneground wholewheat pappadum which was a revelation - all goodness and organic. Also a pepper flatbread that was a bit too peppery for taste. 

The food certainly felt many degrees finer than the banana leaf available on the streets. The spices were well blended and the sauces warmed without burning, 

We'd brought a Rose Champagne NV and a Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2009 at The Oaks. New friend Jackie at the Great World City branch had suggested the fizz as a good partner for Indian cuisine and the discount sold it. Te Koko is an old friend, and I figured the pedigree and breeding of the wine would undercut any fire that the cuisine might throw at it. Both went pleasantly well with the spicy food. The Rose bubbles gave a fruit note and cleansed the light fire on the tongue whilst the Te Koko had lovely depth and length and body and full mouth of toasty limes. Both had low to middling acidity which helped tame the fires of the spices, whilst the complexity and texture of the Te Koko made for a delightful sip throughout the evening. 

One occasionally feels a bit squeezed when having to pay top dollar for Indian cuisine, given the quality one can find on the streets of Little India in Singapore and Brickfields in KL. Not with Rang Mahal - this was very fine Indian Cuisine and worth the price of admission. 

The one sour note came with the bill. We were told corkage was S$40 and were a bit miffed when it came out at S$50, as an apparent result of us having champagne. Hmmmm….   And the wine markups were severe - the Te Koko we had brought was more than double the price I'd paid for it. Add the 10% plus service tax and if you're boozy then you're looking at quite an expensive evening. 

So….  I guess we got what we paid for in food terms. The chefs prepared the food well and excellently and the service was quick and efficient. Easy ambiance fis perfect for business meetings and the sense of spotlessness is heartening. But the corkage…..   If there's a next time, we'll bring beer. See how they charge corkage for a bottle of Tiger...

Rang Mahal
Level 3
Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard
Singapore 039594
Operating Hours:
Lunch: 12:00pm to 2.30pm (Daily) 
Dinner: 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Daily)
(65) 6333 1788

Okay lunch at db Bistro Moderne in the Sands

Had a burger at db Bistro Moderne ahead of going to see the visually entertaining but ulitmately dull Dirty Dancing musical. This is another of the franchises operated in Singapore whereby celebrity chefs lend their name and expertise to a restaurant that bears their name. Daniel Bouchon apparently is famous. 

The website says the db Bistro Moderne is Chef Daniel's reinterpretation of "the classic Parisian bistro while sharing the energy and style of his acclaimed db Bistro Moderne in Midtown Manhattan." Under the direction of Executive Chef Jonathan Kinsella, it offers "an exciting mix of traditional French bistro cooking with contemporary American flavors, and a world-renown collection of signature burgers."

These places do seem to like to bandy their names liberally, presumaby to brand them into the brain and reinforce whatever branding does once it gets there. It's the Donald Trump concept gone ballistic - say your name often enough and people will accept it as meaning something and standing for a particular set of values. Yes. Well, and okay and it clearly works in attracting the well heeled and Ferregamo shoed of Singapore since the lunchtime crowd was out in force and enjoying the place hugely. And indeed the lunchtime ambiance is very pleasant, with nice easy lighting and a clean chic feel to everything. Service was smart and efficient, though maybe a little bit slow in the kitchen - even so, not enough as to warrant complaining.

Lenglui had the Yankee Burger, I had the Frenchie Burger and Favourite Son in law had the Original dbBurger - this was the full works sirloin burger with braised short ribs and foie gras. Mine was okay, good meat patty and a fair chunk of it though the initially salty fries got quite dry lower in the paper bag. At S$27 I felt a bit stiffed though would have felt more stiffed with the Original coming in at S$42. Favourite Son in Law wolfed it down without so much as a burp at the end of it. I much prefer the pizza and salads at the Mozze but there were no seats so that was that. 

Ultimately, okay but forgettable food. Sorry…  Maybe dinner is better. Certainly looks good from the photos on the food blogs. 

For the record,  Dirty Dancing had some fantastic dancing, mostly good acting, though not enough continuity of story or character development to hold attention. 

DB Bistro Moderne
10 Bayfront Avenue
#B1-48 Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 8525
Mon to Fri (Lunch): 12pm – 5pm
Sat & Sun (Brunch): 11am – 5pm
Sun & Mon (Dinner): 5.30pm – 10pm
Tue to Sat (Dinner): 5.30pm – 11pm

Excellent Sausage Pasta at Gallo D'Oro Singapore

This is a hole in the wall Trattoria that we got brought to for dinner after a marathon six hour drive from KL. So maybe I was not in a total frame to critique food. Sitting down and opening the wine was most welcome, though. We'd brought a bottle of our CdP Vieux Telegraphe 2009 white burgundy and our dinner hosts brought a Ducru Beaucaillou 1996. A bit peppery on the mouth with spice and peach on the nose, this old CdP favourite drinks nicely on its own and pairs well with a range of foods.

Translated into the Golden Rooster under the control of Master Chef Carlo Marengoni and billed as "authentic northern Italian home-styled cuisine" the Gallo D'Oro is a small and cosy space in Central Mall. Established just over a year ago, it has become a useful addition to the growing number of eateries competing for the Sing dollar of the expats and nationals. It is nicely simple and rustic, having little in the way of exotic embellishments that some places seem to think are necessary. In truth, all many of us really need is subdued yet sufficient lighting to see the food and a table and chairs with enough space for glasses and elbows. And for servings of Chef Carlo's comfort food to get served and shared and consumed by the group. Which the Gallo D'Oro does nicely. Enough space between tables to create privacy and practical in a cosy way. 

The website tells that the philosophy of Chef is that food needs to be shared so many of the dishes are prepared to do exactly that. Which fits in perfectly with the way that we in Malaysia eat our food. So share we did. 

I am having some difficulty remembering much about the food. The starter salad was okay, rocket and arugula with possibly seafood - the website does little to jog the memory on this, I think the menu has changed but the website maybe has not.

Having said this, the homemade pappardelle pasta, Foiade del Gallo D'Oro, with peppery chunks of pork sausage was a stunner - fresh, firm pasta with a peppery porky bite that hit the spot nicely. 

We had a Roasted Suckling pig with vegetables which was…. okay, though not really able to compare with what you can get in Spain or the Philippines. They really know how to roast a pig so that the skin is crisp whilst the meat is succulent. Wines were lovely - the creamy and rich Vieux Telegraphe 2009 CdP lifting the pepper and pasta whilst the silky Ducru washed down the greasy pig.  Lovely Tiramisu to finish - light and creamy and disappeared on contact with the tongue. Food prices looked fair and offered value. Think there was corkage, and would assume so since a fair wine list is available.

Chef came out to say hello, but we didn't stay too late. Would definitely go back for the Sausage Pasta and Tiramisu, and maybe try something different on the menu. A great place to go when you need that dose of good solid comfort food. 

Trattoria Gallo d'Oro
7 Magazine Road
#01-03 Central Mall
Tel: 64388131

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Food, but not as we know it at Mugaritz


I didn't really do much research on Mugaritz prior to our visit. Well, Pilgrimage, more like. At the start of our trip with twenty International Food and Wine Society foodies from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, we knew that we were on our way to some of the most venerable shrines of wine and food in the world. We figured the better attitude was that the less we had in terms of expectations then the less we would be disappointed.  Given that we had a wine merchant in the group who had selected the wines, we figured we would get a better wine and food experience than many. And indeed after reading a few reviews in researching this piece, in retrospect it seemed just as well - they would have put me off the visit. Comments such as "overpriced", "not worth it" and "food didn't meet expectations" would put anyone off. And yet to have missed this restaurant would be to have missed one of the greatest food experiences this planet has to offer. Yes, maybe not to everyone's taste, but sometimes it is necessary to suspend preferences and just go with the flow. As one reviewer wrote, not every dish was a home run, but those that were were out of the ball park. Which pretty much sums it up. Mugaritz is the Babe Ruth of restaurants - not afraid to strike out occasionally in the quest for magnificent culinary home runs. And there were a superb number of these. Batter up.

Mugaritz Courtyard
Mugaritz is located just outside San Sebastian in the Basque region of Northern Spain. Proudly Basque (as one of our friends was gently corrected by one of the staff when she referred to Mugaritz as "Spanish"), it is a 2 Star Michelin restaurant which has been in the world top five restaurants since 2008. Chef Andoni Aduriz learned his craft in Ferran Adria's El Bulli and likes to call his style "techno-emotional cuisine" rather than the all embracing "molecular gastronomy" which many of the leading exponents of this style of cuisine also choose to reject. Adria prefers the term "deconstructive" since it more accurately reflects the idea of taking food apart and putting it back together in ways that challenge and excite in social, technical, emotional and artistic contexts. The aim seems to be to subvert the expections of diners in these areas and entertain. Maybe they just want to avoid being labelled. 
Mugaritz interior
The cooking and philosophy of Mugaritz is a "constant search for perfection and the exceptional in each one of our dishes" with the key words being nature, time and emotion. The menu says the dish names "not only describe what they consist of but also what they contain implicitly, that which we would like there to be…. evocative landscapes and moments, imaginary techniques and even new ingredients." I normally get suspicious with such seductive language and rhetoric. Having worked as a copywriter in the fashion line, a story selling the aesthetic usually means a premium on the price with often a corresponding lack of substance. Way too cynical, maybe? Actually, yes and so it was to prove on this occasion. 

Mugaritz calls its customers "Cultured and refined souls (who) have a calling to encounter with nature" and who prefer the raw and natural in their food. In this, the menu points out that everything on the plate can be eaten, the aim being to please both the eye and the soul and seek to "generously offer a new world of emotions." I somehow missed this, which meant I missed out on eating a lot of the rocklike looking things that the food came presented on. Memo to self - read the fricking menu next time.

Our bus of IWFS cultured and refined foodies got unloaded and we piled into the subdued lighting of an early evening April grey restaurant. Mostly wooden interior, it felt cosy though passing tables of people eating felt a bit like we were intruding on their intimacy. But then twenty rowdy….. er, cultured and refined Malaysian foodies will do that. 

The table decoration of a snapped plate broke into two halves and put back together with both halves at 90 degrees to each other gave the sense of deconstruction and reconstruction that reflected the spirit of the Mugaritz style of cooking. Taking something apart and putting it back together differently. Thanks to Tom Parker Bowles review in the Daily Mail for opening my eyes to this. Though the engineer in me says the plate was now pretty useless in utility terms. Think we parked some serviettes against it.

The evening got underway with a bracing glass of Cava. The Castell Sant Antoni Gran Reserva had a lovely lemon nose with good bubbles and acidity. Just the thing to relax after the bus ride and ahead of the twenty course three hour marathon ahead. 

Mugaritz kitchen
Our entertaining and witty maitre d' introduced himself and the menu and organised us for the pre dinner kitchen tour. This was done in two groups of ten and once there everyone got treated to a pea sushi roll with a garlic flower which tasted like cold fresh garden - nice almost frozen crunch but with a sweet freshness that was a real livener in the cheeks. Killed the Cava, though. 

The kitchen was something else - all steel sheen and swish and bright lights and chefs dancing around each other to get to their stations like some cosmic dance of moons and planets around the stars that anchor them to each other. There was light and laughter and smiles and no sense of feeling we were invading space or spectators at a safari. We were there to enjoy and they would be professional in delivering that enjoyment. Works for me.

Eating in the kitchen
Back at the table to finish off the fizz and to crack on with the whites. First up was the Pazo Senorans Rias Baixas Seleccion de Anada 2005. Medium of body with apples and honey on the nose. A dry sweet throat with nectarines, with a slight oil and industrial note on the finish. Good food partner it would prove to be - one of those versatile, go with anything wines. 

The first courses out were the Lock of "Hair" seaweed smeared with tapenade and the Edible stones. The latter looked like a pebble but turned out to be a parboiled new potato with light mustard coating - very cute and good crunch on the humble spud. Used to have them as a kid in early spring straight from the hot water on to the plate and smothered in butter - sweet and beautiful and a taste for eternity. 

Seaweed. Apparently. Tasted like dirt. 
The seaweed came across as the taste of dry dirt and the texture of wire wool. It dustily disappeared on contact with the tongue. There was a pop of mustard which didn't seem to do much. Presumably there was some nutritional value in the seaweed, but I didn't really get what was behind this dish. Someone said it was the Fatt Choy - a delicacy in Chinese communities that gets served for auspicious occasions. Okay…

The third course was seafood with seaweed and roe which proved a bit gunky and a bit yuck. There seemed to be lots of tastes going on in this, lots of activity on the tongue. Possibly too many - it certainly became difficult to pinpoint them. 

Fourth was the "Smoked toast, 100% lobster" a dry lobster on a stone wheat chip and (given that it was 100% lobster) what I guess must have been other lobster bits pureed into some green vegetal looking gunk. Interesting look, like a supermodel claw basking on a rock of black hardened lava waiting to be photographed. I have no note of the taste.

Asparagus and black truffle. I think.
Fifth was "Slices. Asparagus and black truffle" which was a crisp bite and veggie chew with the truffle coming off as slightly nutty and nicely undercut by a splash of cream. The white and black contrast of the asparagus and truffle made for a visual pop, but didn't photograph too well. 

The dishes were coming thick and fast and barely enough time to make any real notes. But it was fun. The wine kept getting poured and nicely helped the food go down. The reds were starting to appear but the fizz and white was still on the table. Just as well, lots more seafood still to go. 

The Tanned lobster flesh and fermented rice had a zap of pomelo somewhere which brought out a sourish grapefruit note in the remains of the wine and helped cut the lobster nicely. The combo was a good mix of fresh lobster bite and starch in the rice slightly sweetened by the ferment. Light and heavy at the same time. Pretty colour blends of snow white, grey and salmon orange with pops of what looked like green chives as contrasts. 

Emulsions of squid and cod with hake shavings
The creamy emulsions of squid and cod with hake shavings made for an interesting texture. It looked like a dollop of coconut "santan" on top of a dollop of soup. When the flakes got mixed in with the emulsion, it created a full, thick porridge that was a treat - all fishy goodness that hit all the taste and textural spots. Seemed to fill the belly as well - unusual for this type of cuisine. But welcome, nonetheless. 

Next up was the Threads of crab with vegetable mucilage, macadamias and pink peppercorns. Crab in cream with pepper - lovely taste, with what felt like a light milky cream fraiche. Absolutely Storming. Especially with the bread and a dab of butter. Peasant? Maybe. But I make no excuse. We enjoy our food as best we dare to experiment. And this was lovely. 

Decided to have a sip of the first red which was the Vides y Vinos Ossian Vino de la Terra Casstilla Y Leon 2010. Bit on the young side, lightish body, mildly fruity and a shade alcoholic. Berries and plums with good tannins. Pleasant enough, but maybe needs more time in the bottle. This one can age a bit to get a bit less aggressive.

The sea anemone with mountain watercress came out a bit like an oyster crossed with sea urchin. It smelt something awful, but sometimes you just have to hold your nose and swallow. The taste was of mashed things. That was it. My notes say it looked like dog balls and tasted of someone's balls. Don't know why, since i've never tasted balls. It was better with the bread to give it a carbo foundation. But this was another one that was a strike out. Maybe it was meant to fit in with the grander sequence of the menu. And indeed from this perspective, it made absolute sense because the Roe and bone marrow were beyond words. The roasted bone marrow just erupted with the hake roe. Totally explosive blood vessel busting food. There appeared no shame in sucking on the bone marrow. Dogs do it and they know a thing or two about bones. Trying to find a description of bone marrow taste - like a roasted fat squishy oily soft lard, soft mushy lard with beef but zipping the tongue with sweet hoy oily goodness. Transcendental. 

The Boiled artichoke with a mushroom and black olive Hollandaise was slightly odd, with the foam feeling a bit yuck and bland and somewhat vegetal. Didn't quite work for me.

Loin of Hake, Tiger Nut starch and Clam Juice
Loin of Hake, tiger nut starch and concentrated clam juice. The loin had been cooked perfectly, its firm and fluffly flakes giving a real a bounce in the mouth - reminiscent of the Soon Hock we get in Malaysia. The nut sauce was creamy and more-ish and a real throat coater, needing lots of our crisp red wine to clear the top of the palate. 

The Turbot "Pil-pil" and roe was a good oily contrast to the Hake though the sauce was a bit starchy, as if someone had overdone the MSG enhancer. 

The second and third reds had by now made it to the table, the Vinos de Pago Arinzano Navarra 2004 and the Bodegas Roda Rioja Reserva 2006. Not as bold as the Ossian, but had a much better balance, with a great body and lovely texture and fabulous finish. The Rioja was wonderful. Total lady of a wine - elegant with a bit of steel and breeding and a hint of sexy.  A supple leather and lace wine that would help provide a night to remember. 

The notes are getting a bit illegible. Drink will do that to you. Getting very full too, almost scared to eat any more. I also think that maybe there were some deviaitions from the menu order - giving a nod to lighter food beking cleared before the heavier food. I guess even with this deconstructive style of cuisine there are some laws of eating that are fundamental. There also seem to be an occasional addition - some photos do not seem to match any of the descriptions and some notes do not make much sense. 

Choppings of Pulled Lamb
Choppings of pulled lamb, caramel coat. The lamb meat was fine and quite succulent with an oustanding crispy skin though the sauce was a shade dry and powdery. Notwithstanding, a good blend of texture and taste. The lamb felt a shade aged, as if it had been left on a shelf somewhere for a couple of days and got a bit dried as a result. Though it retained sufficient juice and texture to avoid becoming the dreaded "lamby". The combo of meat, fat, char and skin was wonderful, especially with the Arinzano.

Iberian Pork Tail
The Iberian pork tail with sour leaves and creme fraiche. Imagine the best pork skin you have ever tasted. Then double it. Then double it again. That's what we had here. Crisp, clean, juice and fat and earthy salt. simply cooked but so, so excellently executed. The accompanying sauce tastes like total lliquid pig and pairs magnificently. Chef added a touch of full cream to the dish for a creamy pop in the mouth. Genius. The remaining sauce on the plate just begged to be soaked up with the bread and, oh my stars and boxers, it was the best. Bread, not chocolate, truly is the food of the gods. In a next life, I hope to come back as a baker.

Rack of Iberian Pork
Following the amazing pork with anything would be tough but Mugaritz managed to pull it off with the Rack of Iberian pork smeared with Sobrasada and fresh herbs. Total Whoah!! Though the skin was slightly less than perfect and a shade on the tough side, the meat was fine juicy and succulent. It was the zip given by the not too spicy Sobrasada sauce that was interesting - spritzed the tongue and flavoured the meat with a pungent but not overpowering kick. 

Seems there was a Sweet fermented carrot, Idiazabal ricotta and smoked paprika. There is a photograph but no notes. 

There are also no notes on the Vinos de Finca Losada Bierzo "La Bienquerida" 2009, though the notes do say that the Pedro Ximinez was amazing - sweet paricots, smoke, syrup and figs and total liquid gooey luxury. Opulent and disdainful and not afraid of being so.

Tower of Babel
Chocolate hits all the right buttons - it excites, it soothes, it stimulates the senses and lets those endorphins and other feel good chemicals in the brain get released. It is the aphrodisiac for love and the comfort for heartache. Having said this, it is apparently not an ingredient that Mugaritz usually has any attraction for. It may stimulate many things in the brain, but it would seem not sufficient doses of innovative creativity in the Mugaritz chefs to want to do too much about it. Fair enough. Chocolate is what chocolate does and there's no need to fix what ain't broke. 
This changed recently. Rising to a challenge to incorporate chocolate in an exciting and innovative way, Mugaritz has developed the 7 Capital Sins covered in chocolate. They spent months in collaboration with chocolate legend Oriol Balaguer to develop the tastes, flavours and textures to titillate the senses of Mugaritz diners. The delightful mouthfuls are presented in a vertical jigsaw of natural oak bowls and boxes intended to represent a Tower of Babel. 
Figuring out the Tower
Visually, the Tower is impressive, like a Wooden Guggenheim in Bilbao only lots of them piled on top of each other. Taking them apart is indeed fun and revealing the sinful creations did evoke delight and surprise. The taste was…  chocolate. Wonderful, smooth, dark, firm, and top quality, but ultimately…   chocolate. Deconstruct it all you want, at the end you get endorphin zapping well being that begs for coffee. And it is wonderful.
Prior to the tower we had a few other stages for the Chocolate Process. First up was a Chocolate chip sponge that required us to whip up our coffee and cocoa grains with some cream and create the "gravy" to pour over it or dip into. It was excellent - a shade cake like but the chocolate gravy softened it nicely and brought out all the dark cocoa taste. 
The Tower, er, untowered
There was also the Frozen almond turron (read biscuit and wafer)  which needed to get eaten with the edible paper. This was full on texture - crunchy biscuit, rich sweet cream created a great combo. Kind of like a Coconut ice cream with ice cold chocolate wafers and sugary coffee and cocoa. 

Overall, the service was pretty excellent, coming across like a well choreographed routine in clearing and replacing plates. Attentiveness to empty glasses occasionally an issue but, hey, when you've a menu of twenty dishes and needing to clear an entire restaurant, something's got to give. And we could always serve ourselves. We didn't - someone always seemed to turn up at the last moment.

The Lenglui. Ho leng.
And then that was it. Taxis had come to ferry us back to the hotel for a fitful sleep ahead of a 6am rise and shine to finish packing for 7am breakfast and 7.20 bus ride back to Bordeaux. We had done it. Mugaritz could be safely struck off the bucket list of places to eat before we die.  It is probably true to say that Mugaritz is more an experience than what we might normally call a meal. Tantalising tastes and textures are juxtaposed in often contrasting but continually delighting creations that flow gently from one to the other. With barely more than a mouthful for each course, the twenty dishes went quite quickly, and kudos for the kitchen being able to manage the sequencing with minimal delays between plate clearing and presentation. 

Mugaritz feels like it is one of those places that foodies just have to "do" and whether you enjoy it or not is secondary. I think I'm glad it's been done - the experience of doing it gives a degree of authority to be able to talk about the place and the cuisine and the atmosphere of the place. In terms of the tastes and textures, it deserves its ranking among the best restaurants in the world. In our individual journeys of food, we learn that what we like is at best only a preference and what is good or not is decided by whether what we eat stays with us. Like Fine Art, learning to appreciate the skills in preparation and presentation become keys to understanding the artistry of a chef.  A Tripadvisor review cited an ex employee saying that one really had to know food to enjoy the Mugaritz, which rings somewhat true in the same way that you really need to know wine to better enjoy the top end Bordeaux. Having done it, one question is whether one would want to do the experience again. Most restaurants would want an answer in the affirmative, though one feels that Mugaritz doesn't really care. Like the Enterprise, their mission is to boldly go where no chef has gone before and we are the mostly willing passengers on this taste and texture adventure. Though as a paraphrased and misquoted Spock might say for the Mugaritz: it's food, Jim, but not as we know it.

Friends Jag and Sue
For me, on balance….  yes I would go back to Mugaritz. On the one hand, it was a truly memorable dining experience which sets the expectation bar for a future visit quite high. On the other, the menu will change as the chefs uncover more and more brilliant matches in the deconstructive style. The mixes of tastes and testures are tremendous and inventive, and one is constantly delighted and surprised at the amazing combinations the kitchen has developed. There is a palpable sense of intelligent fun pervading the place, from the chefs who fed us on the kitchen tour before the meal to the serving staff who set and cleared places whilst entertaining all the way.

I guess it is this spirit of play that infuses the creativity of the place and the resulting food and experience. Play has always been essential in innovation in all fields, from science and technology to the arts, and this freedom to play in the kitchen results in some brilliant results. Some not so brilliant on times, but that becomes personal choice and maybe expectation bias. Whilst we all try to avoid judging as best we can, to comment constructively one necessarily needs a standpoint at some time. Mugaritz will either excite and delight or deeply disappoint, and the only question is whether you are adventurous enough to spend the money on the ticket and take the ride. Do it at sometime like now, when the current recession and depressed euro and economy make it a good time wallet wise. But maybe try and do it when your palate is sufficiently sophisticated to readily appreciate this style of cuisine. If you're a solely steak and chips kind of eater, then Mugaritz is not for you. At least not yet. In contrast, if you like the idea of food being reshaped in fun and intelligent combinations, you shouldn't miss this one.

Aldura Aldea, 20
20100 Errenteria
Coordinates for GPS:
  • Longitude: 1º 55’ 4’’ West
  • Latitude: 43º 16’ 22’’ North
Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any problems (+34 943 522 455 / +34 943 518 343)

Bottles, take a bow...
Castell Sant Antoni Gran Reserva Cava Brut 2005
Pazo Senorans Rias Baixas Seleccion de Anada 2005
Vides y Vinos Ossian Vino de la Terra Casstilla Y Leon 2010
Vinos de Pago Arinzano Navarra 2004
Bodegas Roda Rioja Reserva 2006
Vinos de Finca Losada Bierzo "La Bienquerida" 2009
Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Pedro Ximinez Antique Jerez

Lock of "Hair" seaweed smeared with tapenade
Edible stones
Slices. Asparagus and black truffle
Smoked toast, 100% lobster
Tanned lobster flesh and fermented rice
Creamy emulsions of squid and cod with hake shavings
Threads of crab with vegetable mucilage, macadamias and pink peppercorns
Sea anemone and mountain watercress
Roe and roasted bone marrow
Boiled artichoke with a mushroom and black olive Hollandaise
Loin of Hake, tiger nut starch and concentrated clam juice
Turbot. "Pil-pil" and roe
Choppings of pulled lamb, caramel coat
Iberian pork tail with sour leaves and creme fraiche
Rack of Iberian pork smeared with Sobrasada and fresh herbs
Sweet fermented carrot, Idiazabal ricotta and smoked paprika
The chocolate ceremony
Frozen almond turron
Glass. Sugar and cocoa as a cookie
Edible paper of leaves and flowers