Thursday, December 22, 2011

NOBU - a must go experience

 I have never been to Nobu and was apprehensive due to the cost of an evening and past experiences at  The One & Only. Perhaps, no definitely an unfair preconception. It was such an exciting evening of food and a great change from the world of western fine food!

We started with tempura and can recommend the shiitake and scallop tempura. This was followed by crispy fried rice which is blocks of sushi rice formed into perfect blocks and deep fried.  This came with a raw minced tuna tartare.  This was sublime and the flavours of the tartare were so balanced it was almost impossible to single out the ingredients.  It did have cods roe as one of the ingredients which added a sensual pop in the mouth.  This was one of the house specialties and if u have a chance you really need to taste this!

The next few dishes of seafood hot pot - flamed in sake with Enoki, Shitake and Porcini mushrooms was meaty and rich yet very fishy.  this went well with our French red wine.

The almost seared beef with onion ponzu was the most melt in your mouth meat I have had - EVER!

The sun rolls( chefs choice of 3 sashimi) was so perfectly rolled that the rice was about 3 mm thick and the fish was the hero of the roll.

Cost: R850 for two of us. We had one glass of superb Spiced Route Viognier from Fairview each and brought our own bottle of fine French red 2002. The 2004 on the menu was R1750. Corkage is R150!

Well worth an experience!!

Christmas Food Shopping and a Grand Chef

I have been doing a lot of eating in the last few days and have been through inspired to excited.
Firstly I think the Christmas fare in Woolworths has improved on last year. I was very happy to see fresh (not frozen)Turkeys and the selection of gammons, hams and tongue is very good. Would be nice to see these all as free range next year. I was a bit irritated that the precooked whole tongue price has gone up a lot for the season. 

The best range to stretch your credit card on is the range Woolies has launched with Luke Dale-Roberts from the Test Kitchen. I bought the pork and duck Christmas stuffing sausages and did them on the weber. They were succulent and a hit with my guests.

Other products include a porkbelly trimmed to a small wedge which goes with a delicious selection of relishes. 

The Rooibos tea infused Salmon also looks delicious but all of these will set u back a pretty penny.  However should you want quality and premium at least you are able to get it. The dumbing down to affordable can be very boring.  I also liked the topped camemberts but the downside of this is that you need to go to the big stores and fight the malls to get a hold of these lines as the smaller stores don't get stock. Very irritating indeed.

In terms of chocolate, Valrhona has entered the country and I love their huge selection of gift formats and bar formats and the tasting boxes give you a chance to taste them all and find your favorite without too much investment - Lindt could learn from this.

Now to fine dining -
The Chef: Peter Templehof has been awarded the title of Grand Chef Relais & Chateaux and we managed to get a booking for dinner

The Venue: The Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenhort. I really liked the clean decor and real daylight feel. It does not feel stuffy at all and since fine dining is coming to the end of an era, I think The Greenhouse is a refreshing change in which to experience fine dining.

The Food: a playful trio of toadstools started us off to our 4 course tasting Menu with Wine Pairing and a breadbasket with lavache, cheese bread sticks and other delectable slices. The nasturtium pate with mini leaves was not only terribly pretty but delicious.

The first and second course showed off exceptional flavor combinations, use of liquid nitrogen, and other molecular gastronomy marvels. The main course was more traditional cuisine and the flavours of the ingredients celebrated and  intensified.  My dessert of fennel panna cotta was superb and a perfect balance of savory and sweet.

The Wine: a good pairing but I felt that I had too many Sauvignon Blancs and would have liked the Sommelier to have been a bit more daring. The other guests had the Yardstick Pinot Noir which was superb!

Beware the cost of the evening was R2500 for three of us! But...well worth an experience.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Raw Milk Revolution

In this age of over processing, milk has become a victim of abuse!  I could have written my own rant and ravings about milk, but this Guardian article does it so well I thought it was well worth sharing.

Have a read and make the change if you can find it.

Maison The Kitchen - Spend the day

tomato Sorbet with Goat Cheese, meringue and black pepper syrup

Maison The Kitchen is a new Franschoek addition and well worth putting aside the day and spending it at Maison under the trees and with the chickens.
Weylandts Owner Chris Weylandt's restaurant on the Maison estate.  The pictures speak on their own and the view is spectacular.  The decor is clean and modern, the food light and full of flavour with some interesting flavour pairings.  My favourite has to be the Chicken Coop and the Bantam chickens who wonder round the lawn having their free range lunch too.  The wine is superb, the Viognier being my favourite.