Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tetsuya (part1)

It has always been my dream to go to Tetsuya and on Friday 13th February 2009 H actually brought me there for a late birthday / pre-valentine's day dinner. He's so sweet :)

Walking in from the rain and cold we were warmly greeted by the cosy interior of Tetsuya's restaurant and the friendly wait staff. After signing in our umbrella at the entrance we were shown to our seats overlooking the peaceful mini Japanese garden, with a little pond and 3 tier mini waterfall. The light raindrops falling on the water surface of the pond together with the wet garden made it even more surreal; like spring in Japan.

Once seated we peruse the drinks menu. H ordered the Sloeberry Bomb cocktail and I got the Jade cocktail. Both were very smoothly blended. Compliments to the bartender.

Jade (left) and Sloeberry Bomb (right)

Sourdough Bread with Truffle Butter - This was just so delish. I love sourdough bread and this was one of the best I've ever had. I could just eat it on it's own without any butter or spread. However, once paired with the truffle butter and a little sprinkle of rock salt, oh my god, words just can't describe it. The waitstaff asked if I wanted another once I've finished off the bread but I decided against it lest I would be too full to finish all 12 courses.

Our first course was Chilled Corn Soup with Saffron and Vanilla Ice Cream. The corn soup was surprisingly sweet, but not in a 'sugar added' kind of way, but just by the great quality and freshness of the corn. Texture-wise, the soup was very smooth with just the right consistency.

Oysters with Tetsuya's famous oyster vinaigrette. We only got one serve of the oysters as I'm not too fond of them but H loves them. He says they are the best oysters he's ever had even though he normally prefers his oysters "au naturel". We paid $9 for the 2 oysters which is pretty cheap considering the dining establishment.

Next up was the Smoked Ocean Trout with Avruga Caviar and a semi-cooked egg yolk. I'm having trouble describing the degree of cook-ness (? don't think that is a word) of the egg yolk; it wasn't half boiled with liquid egg yolk pouring out, but it wasn't boiled egg yolk either which is crumbly. It's sort of semi solid. Later on, I discovered from an article from another foodie blogger (http://talennyn.blogspot.com/2008/12/tetsuyas.html) that the egg yolk was actually a frozen raw egg yolk! It created the "feel" of it being cooked. Boy, were we duped! Anyhow, the waitstaff advised that Tetsuya recommend that we mix all 3 ingredients together in order to bring out the wholesome taste that Tetsuya had created. I've never actually tasted anything like it. A very rich dish with the smokiness of the ocean trout, saltiness of the Avruga caviar and the creaminess of the egg yolk all in one. I loved the taste immediately on first bite.

Leek and Crab Custard - This reminds me of chawanmushi and was one of my favourite dish of the night. Steamed egg with tiny crab meat topped with a rich miso soup and 2 drops of leek flavoured oil. I love how the rich miso soup added an extra dimension to the light taste of very smooth egg custard. Couldn't taste much of the crab though as they were tiny but they did add flavour to the custard.

From right to left; Marinated Scampi w/ White Miso and Passionfruit, Scampi in Sea Water and Lemon Scented Olive Oil and Grilled Scampi Wrapped in Pancetta. I didn't know scampi could taste like this! Although I must admit my past affair with scampi was mostly of the deep-fried frozen kind while I was living on a student budget in the UK. We started off from right to left as per the waitstaff's direction. The meat of the marinated scampi in white miso was just so sweet. It was like eating raw prawns (scampi are deep sea prawns so I guess I am eating raw prawns) but scampi meat is just so much sweeter than normal prawns. The white miso marinade married with the little passionfruit sauce really accentuates the sweetness of the scampi. Fantastic!

Next was the Scampi in Sea Water and Lemon Scented Olive Oil. H and I had a mini debate over whether the "sea water" here could be man-made salt water or actual sea water? We finally agreed that it was actual sea water as there is no escaping the distinct smell of sea water. I think the saltiness of the sea water made the scampi meat taste all the more sweeter but the meat was not as sweet as the scampi with white miso. The waitstaff advised us to slowly pull the skewered scampi out of the glass so that it gets coated generously with the olive oil layer.

The final scampi on this course was the Grilled Scampi in Pancetta. Very yummy. Having the grilled scampi last made me appreciate the texture of cooked scampi versus raw scampi. The cooked scampi was more succulent and juicer compared to the other two but the meat was not as sweet. Still, all were yummy and I will never look at scampi ever the same again.

Tetsuya's signature dish - Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Apple, and Daikon. This dish is sooo good. I love how the konbu flavour permeates and complements the ocean trout, roe, apple and daikon. I am in love with this dish! The trout was easy to slice and the moment it finds my tongue, the flesh of the trout melted away. When eaten together with the roe and the apple and daikon mix, the taste was indescribable. I told H that eating this dish made me feel like I was home. I felt safe. Never have I thought that food could make me feel that way.

Terrine of Queensland Spanner Crab with Avocado Soup - The dish is the weakest link out of all the dishes we had tonight. Not to say that the dish was horrible, the crab meat was actually very fresh and sweet. However, I didn't think that the avocado soup complemented or added to the taste of the crab meat / dish.

Fillet of Barramundi with Braised Baby Fennel. Catching a whiff of this dish reminded me of the Chinese steamed fish with soy sauce and spring onions but it tasted nothing like that. Tetsuya's Barramundi has a very delicate and mild flavour, focusing one's attention to the freshness of the fish and the tenderness of the meat. I'm not a big fan of fennel but this was actually really good - sweet and juicy.

We are now at the end of the seafood dishes and starting on the meat section. At this point my stomach is almost reaching it's full capacity but I resolve to soldier on...

See Tetsuya (part 2) for continuation of our Tetsuya experience.
http://foodie-central.blogspot.com/2009/02/tetsuya-part2.html

2 comments:

Y said...

Despite the pretty presentation, I didn't really like that crab dish either. Too mushy, in my opinion.

foodie-central said...

Bit of a let down eh when the other were so good..