Posts Tagged ‘sashimi’
Sra Bua, Thai musical words to describe a pond blooming with lotus. In Asia, this flower is the essence of perfection, reflecting creativity and purity. Quite a challenge then for Chef Tim Taue (remember, we also tried his second signature address in Berlin, La Soupe Populaire). In the heart of Hôtel Adlon Kempsinki, this restaurant took inspiration in the luxurious temples: Stone animals, vintage vases, richly sculpted walls… while still offering a soothing comfort, velvety banquettes in gold and green, chimney fire, daylight softly dimmed. A wonder for photographs, clicking away happily. I remain hypnotised by Stefan Szczesny’s art works, sepia pictures weaved with Matisse and Cocteau themed drawings.
Make your way to the bar first – the mixologists are fantastically skilled. You may fall for the Spanish Ice (Bombay Sapphire, home made thyme and rosemary cordial, aperol, bitters, lemon juice), unctuous, a liquid version of a summer afternoon. Or the Basil Leaf (sake, Lillet, ginger and basil syrup, lime), crisp, frank, tangy. My love at first sip was for the Basilic et chocolat (white chocolate liqueur, vodka, apple liqueur, ginger), surprisingly fluid, so very aromatic. All cocktails are served with naturally marbled beetroot crisps, sugary, lip-licking good.
Tim Raue reinterprets here Pan-Asian cuisine with his European flair. Understand – a link between the two cultures, traditions enhanced by haute-cuisine. You could call it a culinary odyssey. To fully savour this journey, go for the tasting menu… 6 starters, 4 mains, 3 desserts. Be warned, skip lunch!
It starts with an amuse-bouche, served in elegant ceramic dishes. In one, roasted cashew nuts flavoured with red curry, in another lotus roots, crunchy but refreshing, on a smooth coconut and coriander cream. Close your eyes, sip on the ginger and honey tea and dream!
The waitress comes back and the table suddenly fills up. Yes, 6 starters and no, these are not tiny versions. Let the feast begin, let your senses awaken. And since pictures often are better than a thousand words, I’ll let them speak for themselves:
Super-thin and crunchy pizza base, avocado cream, rich salmon, very natural, splendid sashimi indeed.
Koh Samui – heritage tomatoes, each with its own texture and flavour, fruity or sweet, or lemony. Tender avocado, a touch of passionfruit for the twist, shiso leaves.
Som Tam – a favourite classic Thai. Thin ribbons of papaya and carrots, cashew nuggets, chilli to put a little fire in the plate.
A destructured maki, rice, tuna, hamachi, avocado cream and Japanese mayonnaise to lengthen the flavours.
Irish beef sashimi, so, so very tender, Sichuan pepper, soya and ponzu sauce, reminding of yuzu.
Hamachi ceviche, melon, apple, lemongrass, Thai pepper, a hint of elderflower. What a gorgeous palette!
After these gourmet poems come hot dishes, more consistent, more intense, a beautiful progression. They were matched to divine jasmine rice and steamed pak choi to nicely rebalance the palate.
Ikarimi salmon, no knife necessary, just a fork is enough to cut it, tangerine salt subliming the fish flesh.
Yellow curry, velvety, spell binding. Sweet potato, pumpkin, pickled onions, cashew nuts, the spiciness of cloves and cinnamon flowers as a finale.
Red curry with perfectly cooked duck. Creamy, fragrant sauce, coconut, mellow fruit laced with chilli, pineapple, lychee, suprising salt-sweet match, red bell pepper…
Extraordinary beef, sesame seeds and fresh ginger. Just wow.
As dessert – well, you just cannot leave without a sugary conclusion, can you? The choice is yours in the pastries of the day. Superb French style cakes, a real comprehension of its structure, of the cream and ganache texture.
Matcha macaron (I have a love affair with these), a marvellous green tea flavour, thin crunchy biscuit, and a heart of passionfruit (Tim Raue, the Berlin version of Pierre Hermé?)
In the background, a banana cake, light as cloud, moist, decadent chocolate ganache and cacao spirals.
Last but not least, a verrine in two levels, passionfruit topped with a creme fraiche-like cream made with coconut and lemongrass. Ah, really, it would be worth doing a Tim Raue afternoon tea special…
An absolute must-stop for the gourmet or, in fact, anyone who fully appreciates elegant and intense flavours.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Unter den Linden 77
Love PanAsian food, mix of influences, plates to share with friends and never can resist a mouthwatering menu, ending up ordering everything? Plan dinner at Oaka and gap glam there. Gap glam, you say? Literally, when translated from Thai: Beer Food. And doesn’t this sound just what you need after work? Exquisite but comforting. Being from Bordeaux and consequently a wine person, matching spicy food with beer is always quite a revelation. It works so, so perfectly.
So forget Guinness and the likes for a while. We are talking microbreweries here, drinks made by passionate people and this makes a whole difference. We focused on the Oakham Ales from Peterborough that evening - a beautiful palette of tastes. You do not need to be an expert, just a happy person but ask the staff: they will advise the best ones with your dish, tell you the story behind, let you know of the seasonale ones too. Even better, these are served as 1/3 or 2/3 of a pint too, ideal to order a selection and compare. My favourite definitely is the Citra - grapefruit, litchee, exotic, so very surprising. If you prefer dark beers, go for the Black Hole Porter, velvety and fruity. For a touch of amber, you will want the JCB, nicely hoppy, citrus, a bitter finish that gives it a lovely suppleness. Your next thought? Mmmh, what would go with dessert, then?
Let’s go back to the idea of exotic tapas. Tatesbuds will be woken up. So many colours, such aromas, too: you will be in position, fork in the air before the tray has reached the table. On the menu? So many gorgeous options it is almost impossible to choose. We decided on the Dragon scallops, a generous size, steamed and tender with a satin-like sauce, slightly sweet, fresh ginger and spring onions. The tempuras are quite something - crisp, not oily at all, very tasty and your 5-a-day in a bite: asparagus, sweet potatoes, suede, carrot. Very spring like. Don’t miss the traditional Mieng kum, edible leaves to be folded over a mix of coconut, dried shrimps, peanuts, ginger, lime, shallot and a dash of palm-sugar-sweet sauce. Imagine the fireworks! Another must-try, the soft shell crab, fried with chilli and fresh herbs, so refined. You could easily dine on gap glams alone. It is so very playful, this mix and match, exchange the sauces, take a spoonful, here a forkful there. It turns a meal into a feast. The menu also offers mains though and the salmon sashimin is brilliant. Such a rich quality of fish, such a beautiful texture, sprinkled with sesame seeds and wrapped in a delicious mix of shoyu and wasabi..
For melt-in-the-mouth meat, ask for the Buta no kakuni braised pork belly, cooked in sake and with just a little fat on the side for this unique tenderness. You barely have to use your knife to cut it, delicious with some jasmine rice.
The Kua Noodles are addictive - ribbons of rice pasta fried with soja sauce with chicken, eggs, chives. It sounds simple but it is perfect comfort food, making you dip your fork again and again.
No way you could say not to the perfect coconut rice pudding with fresh mango on the side… Refreshing and a perfect exotic conclusion. Match it to a porter, for its velvetyfeeling. If only because Oaka, with its natural relaxed atmosphere and friendly team is the perfect reason to cheer!
48 Kennington Park Rd
London SE11 4RS
Just one minute walk form Kennington station
Yes. The one. Last year Masterchef’s champion. The youngest one in the series to win it. What seduced the public apart from his elegant way of preparing food and his passion? His world influence, his American and Asian touches which transform any dish into a culinary travel. Remember his Tokyo Slider of Monkfish Liver, Matcha Mayonnaise and The London Slider of Curried Lamb Cheeseburger with Apple and Ale Chutney? He can also give a fabulous twist to British classic – Sticky Toffee Crème Brulee with Blackcurrant Stout Sauce, Cheddar Cheesecake with Whiskey Jelly…
And still, he is the humblest person, sharing his cooking tips, his favourite products, his techniques. You will find yourself discussing Hawaian cuisine or the best way to boil an egg (which is way more technical than you thought!) in the most natural way. You could listen to him all night.
The evening, organised by Oral B and Handpicked, took place at The Cookery School (I have my eyes on their Valrhona masterclass). What is on the menu? Sea bass sashimi with seaweed salad and passion fruit foam. Filet, soak, mix, serve, enjoy: it is ever so easy to prepare, you just cannot get it wrong. Beautiful ocean flavours, very refreshing, very light foam which notes linger on the palate. Just add a little dill – perfection. And so very healthy too!
Still on the world fusion side, the second dish brings Asia and India together – hen’s nest of tea-stained egg, leek bhaji and chana masala purée. Nothing less. The title was a bit daunting and I wondered whether I could manage that. Yet, as long as you have all the ingredient at hand, it is quite easy to prepare.
First boil your eggs ( a very precise 4mn and 45 seconds for the yoll to be slightly runny), let them cool without shelling them. Then infuse them for 24 hours in a mix of soy sauce, chai tea and saffron - hence this dark, a little marbled effect on the picture.
Then prepare your chana masala purée. Fry onions and garlic with a little oil and comin, coriander, chilli powder. Add tomoatoes, saffron, coriander, cumin, chickpeas, tamarin, paprika, garam masala and let it to simmer. An exotic, warm aroma fills the room and will make your mouth water. You sincerely wish you could just stop right there and grab a spoon. But it is not finished yet – put all this in a blender with some butter and whisky until you get an unctuous texture.
The wow effect in that recipe? The twig effect…
Then once rinsed, put them in a mix of flour and garam masala and finally plunge them in hot oil (180 d°C) until slightly brown.
Time to put everything together: a bed of chana masala puree, a next of leeks, cress (or why not edible flowers?), a little lime juice, an egg. A beautiful alliance of crunchiness, tenderness, pepper, aniseed flavours. Very filling (and it does count a good portion of your 5 a day), the spices are so fragrant they satisfy the tastebuds wonderfully too. And what a prettier spring starter? The perfect way to wow your guests, especially as a nmber of steps can be prepared the previous day. This could also work as a luxurious brunch option.
Tim Anderson is teaming up with Oral B to make the public more aware of the effect of food on teeth. The problem with the latter, you see, is that its acidity can attack the enamel (you do not want to know what fruit juice, cola and pickles do to them). Its content stain it (spices, tea, coffee). Not to mention cavities.
I learnt, horrified, that those services offering to whiten your teeth usually do so by taking a slight layer of enamel off. Sounds logical when you think of it but of course, your teeth will be more sensitive than before.
Good news? Well, drinking water after a meal of even juice/fizzy drinks will wash some of this away. Or you can drink with a straw as it will mean less liquid touches the teeth. Adding milk to your tea will limit the staining effect too. But on the whole? You need a good toothpaste.
This is where Oral B comes in – their new pro-expert product combines, for the first time on the market, stannous fluoride and polyphosphate. It iss a little more expensive than the others on the shelf (but easily affordable at £3.49) simply because it costs more to produce. Why you should want it? It promises 58% less enamel erosion than a normal fluoride toothpaste (and if you have sensitive teeth and gums, you will want to try it). And rather than attacking the teeth to whiten them, it uses natural ingredients to remove the stains then protects them with a film. 96% of surface stains disappear within 2 weeks. Oh, and there will also be 56% less tartar than with the usual all in one products. Quite an innovation.
Second serving anyone?
Try those other recipes by Tim Anderson:
- Bloody Mary popcorn
- Cola-braised pork-belly, Miso mustard, various vegetables and dashi
- British cheeses with shiitake oatcakes, lager and onion marmelade, “Asazuke” pickled onions
- Spiced mocha “aero” mousse, plum sorbet, macerated plums and shiso candy