Posts Tagged ‘parfait’
I’m comfortable with dining alone. If I’m out and about on errands during the day I will have lunch by myself. There are many restaurants with counter seating which is perfect for one. I will perch on a stool and scroll the news headlines on my mobile as I eat. These contemplative meals tend to be at casual eateries so I was apprehensive about my booking at The Ledbury in London.
Chef Brett Graham is Australian and The Ledbury piqued my interest during the London riots. The restaurant was attacked by a mob and the staff armed themselves with kitchen accoutrements to defend patrons. There is an Aussie larrikin spirit to that!
With two Michelin stars, The Ledbury has a prix fixe lunch menu at the bargain price of £35 for three courses. The stately dining room was decorated in warm tones with chandeliers, mirrored walls draped with curtains, tablecloths and upholstered chairs.
It was a full lunch service. There was a group in a business meeting, a family celebrating a birthday, and tourists in shorts and visors.
An amuse bouche of foie gras mousse on hemp biscuit was the centrepiece on a rustic ceramic plate.
Speyside and Glenlivet are words I associate with Scotch but the area is also a pristine source of natural spring water.
A wicker basket cocooned warm onion and bacon, sourdough, and malt bread rolls. The onion and bacon scroll was dense and savoury.
The first course was a salad of spring vegetables with crisp pheasant egg and Parmesan. There was a collective gasp from the adjacent table when this was presented. It was an artistic arrangement of tender batons. Vibrant radishes, carrots, asparagus, beans, peas and micro greens complemented the richness of the Parmesan encased pheasant egg.
My entrée silverware with replaced with a spoon. I was pondering how to cut hogget with the blunt, round edge when a shallow bowl was served. The waiter announced it was a pre-course of Cornish brill with radishes, barley, shellfish consommé and cream of white beer. Delicate and flaky, the white filet paired well with the briny broth. This was an ode to the ocean.
A serrated knife was swiftly set. The waiter wryly described hogget as middle aged sheep. The plate was a kaleidoscope of shapes and colours. A wedge of aubergine glazed in black sugar and garlic, dots of green tomato juice and flecks of dried olive were in a jus with three cuts of unctuous heritage prime biodynamic hogget.
A shot glass was layered with passionfruit jelly and vanilla cream, a sweet and tart palate cleanser.
Dessert was a vivid parfait of dried flowers topped with gariguette and wild strawberries, and white chocolate. A puddle of warm tapioca was textural and temperature contrast to the icy smooth parfait.
Petit fours from left to right: eucalyptus chocolate, earl grey biscuit and mandarin jelly.
Lunch was nearly three hours and I read that day’s Guardian newspaper in between courses!
It snowed in Whistler on Christmas Day and I loved it. Snowflakes zigzagged gently from the sky and dusted every surface. I was delighted with my first white Christmas. The powdered slopes were serene and the magic carpet was quiet. We skied in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon.
Survivor like torches guarded the entrance of the restaurant.
A cascade of glass globes were strung together as a sparkling chandelier.
The interior was warm and welcoming. On the far left was a champagne bar and Belvedere Ice Room. The main dining room was buzzing with families and friends celebrating Christmas. We were seated at a table with a view of the busy kitchen. Service was traditional fine dining style with a cocktail cart, sommelier and a plethora of staff.
Enticed by the cocktail cart, we ordered apéritifs as we composed our three courses. The bartender was a little absent minded. Ms S asked for recommendations for a refreshing cocktail and he referred her to the menu. Intrigued by dehydrated beer as an ingredient, Mr L ordered a Caesar. Unbeknown to our group of Australians, Caesar is a Canadian cocktail with Clamato juice which was not listed. We had the same expression after one sip each and it was abandoned.
An amuse bouche of salmon tartare whetted our appetite.
My first course was arctic char. From left to right: gravlax and celeriac, tartare and blini, and smoked and sorrel. Similar texture and milder flavour to salmon and trout, the morsels were perfectly paired.
Photographing was a challenge in the dim lighting! Ms S selected the Pemberton beets and carrots with shaved ricotta salata, spicy greens and white balsamic. It was artistically presented and I sampled a lump of white beet which was sugary.
The gentlemen had the wild mushroom soup with truffles. Poured at the table, the soup was a thick liquid with an earthy aroma.
A tangy citrus granita was the palate cleanser between courses.
The sommelier recommended a local wine, Foxtrot 2008 Pinot Noir. It was a classic match for our game main courses.
Three rare slices of Yarrow Meadows duck breast rested on a plump duck confit ravioli, squash purée, cauliflower florets, beets and pumpkin seeds. The dish was well seasoned and the meat tender, and the components were a delectable combination.
Mr S chose the wild game tasting plate of wild boar wrapped in venison and braised bison short rib with wild mushroom and heirloom bean ragoût. The other couple picked the chef’s Christmas special of goose.
We spotted a cheese cart and the fromage expert was friendly and helpful. We shared a bleu, a local cheddar and a semi soft, with raisins, candied walnuts, fig jam and crisp fruit bread.
I was determined to photograph dessert and I persisted with the single flickering candle as my light source. Served on a slate plate, the geometrical coconut and pineapple had frozen coconut mousse, Meyer lemon and kafir lime sorbet, pineapple and espelette jelly, rum caramel macadamia and cilantro. It tasted like a sophisticated piña colada!
A deconstructed St Honoré was a log of vanilla crème chiboust, coffee Chantilly, crispy malt Irish cream and brown butter milk jam.
On a rectangle of bourbon cake, the apple and caramel had a wheel of salted caramel maple parfait, apple pavé sour cream ice cream and crumbled bacon.
Petit fours concluded our Christmas dinner. From left to right: nougat, peppermint bark, ginger snap and hazelnut ganache.
It was a fun festive season in Whistler!
Posted Monday 12 September 2011on:
Shirley forwarded Darryl‘s invitation to me just in time for this month’s Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club at RN74. I had intended to return to RN74 for a meal after sampling their happy hour a couple of months ago.
With fifty five attendees, it was the largest gathering of the First Friday Lunch Club. We occupied the whole dining room and with lunch scheduled for when RN74 opened, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the empty restaurant in daylight.
The leather chairs, wood panelling, window shutters and cosy booths evoke the Mad Men era, minus the indoor smoking!
I remember the sound of airport arrival and departure display boards before they were converted to screens. The train board in the dining room advertise the last bottles in the cellar.
The casual seating is at the front of the restaurant and the dining room is separated by the bar, secluded from the foot traffic of patrons.
First Friday Lunch Club is usually family style but RN74 served alternate dishes, like at a wedding! I sat at a table of six with Carol and others, and we portioned out each course so we could taste the menu.
Traditional appetisers of soup and salad were refreshing. Summer tomato gazpacho with country crouton and basil oil, the soup had an intense tomato flavour.
A salad of butter lettuce and fine herbs had country croutons and Easter egg radish, and drizzled with creamy mustard vinaigrette. Despite an aversion to salads, I do eat them and feel healthier for it. Hand torn pieces of bread lightly fried, the country croutons was the highlight.
Roasted Mad Hatcher chicken was paired with truffled mac and cheese, Thumbelina carrots and onion jus. The chicken leg was tender, and the mac and cheese was studded with broccoli florets and shredded chicken. I preferred this main to the next one.
The only pork I eat is in Chinese cuisine and I don’t cook it at home. Two medallions of grilled pork loin were artfully positioned on sautéed spinach, beluga lentils and grated apples. Cooked to well done, the pork was unfortunately a little dry and liberally salted.
Light and fluffy, the hand cut beignets were dipped into a bowl of salted caramel Macallan butterscotch. I was expecting a viscous sauce but the texture was similar to crème caramel, perfumed with Scotch.
A whimsical stack of colourful ingredients, the signature deconstructed parfait had scoops of frozen yoghurt, peaches, blackberries and crushed pistachios.
My favourite dessert was the opera torte. A thin slice of layered sponge cake was presented with a quenelle of almond milk ice cream and dollops of espresso curd. It was the perfect combination of chocolate, coffee, cake and ice cream!
Interesting conversation and good food, sincere thanks to Darryl for connecting the Seattle Foodies community.