Posts Tagged ‘cumin’
‘David Thompson‘s name is synonymous with Thai cuisine.’ From Darley Street Thai to Sailors Thai, he pioneered Thai eateries in Sydney. He is the Australian chef who opened a Thai restaurant in Bangkok. I was missing Asian food dearly and was delighted that the original Nahm in London was located near our hotel. In the boutique The Halkin, Nahm was an intimate dining experience.
Decorated in shades of tan and caramel, a row of round tables were in the middle of the dining room and the chairs were comfortable.
We snacked on meaty morsels of ma hor, an appetising amuse bouche courtesy of the chef. Minced prawns and chicken simmered in palm sugar, fried shallots, garlic and peanuts were atop segments of fresh pineapple and mandarin.
We ordered a selection of dishes to share between three. The first was latiang, chicken and crab egg nets with caramelised coconut and lemongrass. Popularised by Longrain chef Martin Boetz on MasterChef Australia, this version of egg nets was presented in a roll. A light lattice of fine egg strands encased a moist and fragrant filling.
Our waiter recommended the yam hua bplii gung, a fresh and zingy salad of grilled prawns and banana blossoms tossed with chilli jam.
Scottish scallops were stir fried with chillies and wild ginger. Plump discs paired with crunchy greens, the hoi shenn pat prik thai orn was simple yet luscious.
All three of us were duck lovers and the pbet yang pat tor huu yii was superb. Chinese style roast duck was on a bed of bean curd, basil and Siamese watercress. The savoury sauce and grassy herbs tempered the fatty duck.
A classic Thai curry, the geng mussaman neua had tender chunks of beef in a viscous paste of aromatics including cassia, cloves, cumin and shallots. Generous dollops were savoured on steamed rice.
The others sipped coffee while I perused the dessert menu. A silver bowl contained rock sugar which had a mellow sweetness.
Kanom mor geng peuak, a scoop of charred coconut pudding were angled on a taro fritter. The two white blobs were kao mao bot, ancestor biscuits with a young coconut filling.
It was an expensive but delectable meal!
A brightly lit room was full of diners. In the back corner was a window into the kitchen where a chef kneaded dough, and stretched, cut and shaved noodles with much concentration and solemnity.
We ordered two dishes to share. First was pork pan fried dumplings (猪肉水煎包). Huddled together with golden crisp bottoms, these dense morsels were juicy, meaty and well seasoned. A dozen of these were too much for the four of us at the end of a day of eating and we were happy to pack the remainder in a container to savour the next day.
The second plate was hand shaved noodles with lamb flavoured with cumin (孜然口味炒羊肉手拉面). This was symphony on a plate. It was stir-fried with wok breath (鑊氣), the handmade noodles tangled with a mass of bean sprouts, studded with broccoli florets and strips of tender lamb were pungent with cumin. It was hearty comfort food.
I check the Tom Douglas website regularly for new events. They’re only advertised online and sometimes tweeted. I noticed the chaats from Bombay pop up dinner by Devarshi Patel listed a couple of days after I returned from Australia. I made a purchase immediately as the first one, Thrilla in Manila pop up dinner by Herschell Taghap, was popular.
In a moment of jet lag induced silliness, I panicked when the event sold out in less than a day and I thought I would be having dinner by myself. Thankfully I realised I had sensibly paid for two tickets and invited Shirley to join me in the frivolity.
I love that Seattle is lit by twinkling fairy lights twisted around the branches of deciduous trees during the festive season. I paused to appreciate this multi-coloured beauty in the Terry Avenue Building courtyard.
Chaats are traditional Indian street food and the specialties of Chef Dev’s pop up dinner were from Bombay (Mumbai).
An artfully blurred photo of Chef Dev, courtesy of the dimly lit dining room at Ting Momo. A genial and humble man, Chef Dev explained the composition of each of the dishes and spoke with the diners.
We were welcomed with a glass of masala chai, a soothing blend of herbs and spices brewed with tea.
Masala papad, pappadums topped with red onions, cucumber and cilantro, were shared appetisers. Thin and crispy, the sturdy pappadums were broken into shards to scoop up the tangy diced mix.
Curiously plain in appearance, the panni puri were three puffed crackers with a quenelle of masala potato. Gently tap the puffed crackers with your fingers or the back of a spoon to deflate, fill with a glob of masala potato and a squirt of tamarind water or herb water. These were fun to eat by hand!
Chaas, a savoury version of lassi, was our second beverage. The iced cumin and green chilli yoghurt drink had a peculiar aroma and tasted like a diluted tzatziki.
In a floral rimmed bowl was dahi wada. A ground daal fritter was seasoned with yoghurt, paprika, toasted cumin and chutney.
All the courses thus far have been eaten with a spoon. Next was wada paav, a potato sandwich flavoured with chutneys and wrapped in a page from a magazine.
Chef Dev detailed how he tried several times to learn how to make the bun at a bakery in India. The Dahlia Bakery staff assisted with the recipe and the bun was fresh and soft. A combination of three chutneys were spread on the potato patty. The spicy sandwich was the highlight of the meal.
Next was ragda patties. A mound of chickpeas and white beans, and a dollop of chutney hid a potato cake.
The last savoury item was misol paav. A square of toast soaked in the legume sprout stew.
And finally, dessert was gaja ka halva. A distinctly orange mass of shredded carrot and cardamom pudding was fragrant and mildly sweet.
Sincere thanks to Chef Dev for introducing us to chaats! A meat version of the chaats pop up dinner was mentioned for spring.
I walk through South Lake Union several times a week. The neighbourhood is busy during the week, especially on the Westlake thoroughfare from Whole Foods to Harrison. I noticed the construction site on the corner of Harrison and Terry many months ago and didn’t know it was Cactus until recently. I love the pink window frames!
Next to the trio of Tom Douglas restaurants in the Terry Avenue Building and opposite Portage Bay Café, it is an emerging dining hub. The eateries already do brisk business on weekdays but foot traffic is minimal on weekends.
Cactus is located in an elongated room with a high ceiling. A bar is at the entrance and the dining room splits to the right and left. A private function room is on the mezzanine level. Floor-to-ceiling glass filters in natural light and patterned cylindrical lampshades are elegant and muted in contrast to the colourful furnishings. Chairs were painted and upholstered in azure, lime, saffron and copper.
We were seated at a booth on a quiet Sunday lunch service. Hand painted motifs featured on each wooden table. The modern and vibrant space is welcoming and cheerful.
Mango agua fresca, a fizzy beverage of agave nectar, fresm lime, mango, mint and sparkling water was refreshing.
The other Cactus restaurants are in Alki Beach, Kirkland and Madison Park and each has a unique logo which is printed on the serviettes.
We nibbled on salsa, guacamole and corn chips while we perused the menu. The salsa casera, homemade salsa, was appetisingly piquant.
A basket of warm corn chips was plentiful for the bowl of guacamole. Avocado, cilantro, lime, onion, serrano chillis and pico de gallo mashed together as a chunky dip.
Mr S selected the fajitas with grilled skirt steak. A plate of condiments and warm flour tortillas accompanied the sizzling skillet of Spanish rice, cumin black beans and caramelised onions. There is a rustic charm in wrapping ingredients and eating it by hand.
There are two tacos per serving and the kitchen kindly accommodated my request to mix and match. Spanish rice and cumin black beans were requisite for a Mexican meal.
On a house made white corn tortilla, the pescado had a fillet of battered fish, coriander and pasilla coleslaw, pico de gallo and buttermilk crema. A little soggy, the flaky white fish absorbed the tangy flavours that were tempered by the squirt of buttermilk crema.
The second taco was carnitas Yucatecas, Carlton Farms pork in achiote marinade and roasted in banana leaves, caramelised pineapple, Cotija cheese and red onion escabeche. It is a delectable combination of tender meat, sweet pineapple and pickled onions.
Flan is a one of my favourite desserts and this three milk Cuban flan is one of the best I’ve tasted. The sepia toned custard was poised in a puddle of sticky sauce. It was firm, smooth and creamy, topped with a vanilla speckled layer of caramel.
Cactus is a welcomed addition to South Lake Union!
With bravado we ventured to Spinasse on Saturday without a reservation. Their dinner service commences at five o’clock and I expected a short wait arriving at seven thirty. The restaurant was full with a wait list and the maître d’ recommended Artusi next door.
We were directed to the back where a corridor connects the restaurant and bar. Fresh pasta sheets were draped on rods across the windows of the spacious kitchen, ready to be hand cut.
Opened by Spinasse Chef Jason Stratton, Artusi is named after Italian cookbook author Pellegrino Artusi. Self-published in 1891, La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene (The science of cooking and the art of eating well) was a seminal recipe collection of Italian cuisine.
Hexagonal tiled tables line the floor-to-ceiling windows. The bar is at the centre of the room and there are two counter seating areas. Cylindrical shades funnel light for a soft ambience.
The cosy table was lit with a single tea light candle. Wines were served in carafes and flat glassware.
Categorised into stuzzichini, antipasti, primi and piatti di Artusi, the menu is designed for sharing. First was bruschetta with roasted cauliflower purée, toasted cumin and sesame. Spread onto thick slices of bread, it tasted like hummus.
Piled into an oval bowl, the roasted young carrots with pancetta, sage and garlic were a generous portion. Sweet and tender, the rustic root vegetable was simple yet scrumptious. This was the only warm part of our meal.
We ordered Columbia City Bakery filone not for the Ligurian olive oil it was served with but to scoop up the caponata, and mushroom and egg salad.
I had sampled the Artusi caponata at the Fall Comforts Taste the Season event and loved it. Described as eggplant and stone fruit caponata with pine nuts and cherry tomatoes on the menu, it was announced as squash caponata by the waitress and absent of eggplant and cherry tomatoes. I missed the smokiness of the eggplant but it was still a balanced dish.
And finally, shaved white mushrooms and egg salad with salsa ‘Apicius’ (a reference to fifth century Roman recipe compilation). Thinly sliced and liberally coated in a dressing of pine nuts, vinegar, honey and colatura (anchovy essence), it was a surprisingly appetising combination of flavours and textures.
The service was a little abrupt and we were coveting Spinasse pasta but Artusi was a casual alternative with light Italian fare.