Category Archives: Fine Dining

Seattle – Eden Hill

To start the new year one of my favorite Seattle restaurants was hosting a Figgins wine dinner. I’m usually not a fan of pumpkin at all and the veloute was really good. K liked both beef dishes the best and I would agree although I really liked the miso ice cream, I finished off hers as well.

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Octopus terrine – mango vinegar, citrus mayo Earth tea puff – foie gras mousse

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Aged Beef Tartare – fermented habanero tostada, fish caramel, cured egg

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Pumpkin Veloute – matsutake, pumpkin leaf, truffle

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Lamb Neck Sugo – celery root lasagna, horseradish, thyme, olive

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Wagyu Fillet – smoked marrow bordelaise, broccoli, pommes fondant

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Miso Caramel Ice Cream – cocoa miso, coconut granola, dark chocolate

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Foie Gras Cake Batter – strawberry, sprinkles, pair cake

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Los Angeles – The Baazar

For the second night in a row we went to another Jose Andres restaurant that was significantly better than Cleo. It helps that it wasn’t Christmas and near the Staples Center, but the food was just incredible. Tapas is one of my favorite types of meals to eat and I went a bit overboard ordering but we only left one piece of the beef cheek which was the last savory dish to come out. They have a totally separate dessert area where all their creations are on display so we could go eat with our eyes before filling our bellies even more.

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Serrano Ham – tomato bread

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Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche – leche de tigre, sweet potato, freeze-dried corn, cilantro

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Eggplant Tempura – local honey, buttermilk

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Oxtail Steamed Bun – watermelon radish, cilantro, serrano chili

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Fried Squid – Aioli, parsley puree

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Not Your Everyday Caprese – cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella

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Local Baby Beets – smoked yogurt, pickled carrots, walnuts, avocado

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Uni & Eeel Rice – strawberry, black garlic, wasabi

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Japanese Tacos – bbq eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron

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“Philly Cheesesteak” – air bread, cheddar, wagyu beef

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“Rossejat” Negra – paella-style pasta, squid ink, sepia sofrito, shrimp

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Jamon Croquetas – fried quail egg, escalivada puree

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Secreto – Iberico bellota, salsa verde

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Seared Wagyu Beef Cheeks – black garlic, cherries, black olive

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Sangria

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Rebel

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Liquid Nitrogen Caipririnha

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Rum Baba – white chocolate, coconut, lime

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Crunchy almond praline, bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate tart

 

Auckland – Sidart

For our last meal we went to a restaurant that like to push the boundaries and offers a Discovery menu. The six amuse were quite good and fun and not very filling while we both thought the celeriac and scampi dishes were lacking in big flavors. The scampi could’ve used salt or been cooking in ghee. The fish was great and was K’s favorite and while I liked it too the pork and duck really did it for me. Just don’t like how the protein was hidden under veggies on a few dishes.

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Miso – olive, thyme

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Pomme Souffle – vinegar

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Carrot – farro, linseed

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Pecorino – artichoke, sumac

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Daikon – sesame, nam jim

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Shiitake – white soy, kaffir lime

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Celeriac – bone marrow, hazelnut, apple

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Scampi – nasturtium, seaweed

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John Dory – kohlrabi, macadamia, horseradish

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Pork Belly – mushroom, leek, turnip

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Duck – radicchio, date, foie gras

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Parmesan – black garlic, Sauternes

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Fennel – sorrel, cucumber, passionfruit

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Pine – black sesame, raspberry, eldferflower

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Salted Caramel

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We had the chef’s table so got to see all the action

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Queenstown – The Bunker

For my friend’s last night in town we headed over to the Bunker for their tasting menu. It was relatively short and we were able to make the steep climb back to our accommodation. He and K went for the seafood options while I chose the meat options, unfortunately the hunters couldn’t get a boar so my first course was venison instead. The food was excellent and it felt like we were in a NYC 70s steakhouse with the dark wood panels and a fire place, the pictures from 70s movies like James Bond and Breakfast at Tiffany’s just added to the time warp feeling.

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Mozzarella, Tomato, Balsamic

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Scallops – cauliflower pannacotta, roasted pork emulsion

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Venison – loin & rillettes, artichoke hearts

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Abalone – black foot paua beignets, smoked oyster gribiche, parmesan croute, aromatic cream

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Hare Loin – horopito braised leg, confit kumura, sour cherries, kawakawa juice

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Berry Sorbet

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Salmon – saffron clam skordalia, roasted fish soil, gaspacho gel, kale

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Lamb Backstrap – shoulder ragu, noisette potatoes, minted broad bean yoghurt, juniper juice

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Kiwi Pavlova – strawberries, mascarpone, kiwi fruit granita, pistachio crumb

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Brie, Blue, and Manchego

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Queenstown – Jervois Steak House

We were recommended JSH by the host at another restaurant we wanted to dine at but they were full. K and I will be going in a few days but unfortunately my buddy will already be gone by then. It was a very good recommendation, I’m always wary of going to a steakhouse since it’s an easy meal to make at home and I was seriously considering having the duck breast but after reading about how their different types of cows are raised I decided to take the chance and get one. I was not disappointed, even my friend who shares my opinion was highly impressed with it, perfectly seasoned and cooked.
I went with the Wakanui Blue cattle are grass fed initially then finished on grain for the last 70 to 90 days. Like the grass-fed equivalent Angus, it has characteristic fat marbling running through the muscle but due to being grain fed the marbling is much greater and more intense throughout.
The ravioli were light and flavorful, the sauce wasn’t too strong so could really taste the meat. The marrow was great and a lot of it, much different than in the US where sometimes only get 3-4mm of marrow since the bone is so thick. There was a bit of meat and gristle on the other side of the bone and SSW and I went cavemen and picked them up to get as much off as we could, I suspect the kitchen anticipated this since it was seasoned with some salt. Both he and K went for the venison and it tasted great, just not as good as my steak. The onion rings were so good I asked if they had been cooked in beef tallow but it was canola oil. I have no idea how they got them to taste that good but I’d go back just to get a basket that I don’t have to share.

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Crayfish Ravioli

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Roasted Bone Marrow

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Venison – goat cheese, beets

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Wakanui Rump Steak

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Best Onion Rings Ever

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Sydney – Tetsuya’s

After a day of walking around Sydney for a bit I was ready for another tasting menu. Thankfully this meal was shorter and featured lots of seafood so it was a bit more easy to get through. My friend asked me which meal I liked better and it’s almost impossible, Tetsuya is much more subtle and smooth in creating his dishes compared to Attica’s bold, contrasting flavors. The trout and duck were my favorites. The duck tasted like Chinese roast duck, I could eat that skin for days.

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Spanner Crab – yuzu kosho, clam vinaigrette

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Kingfish – pickled daikon, ice plant

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Confit of Ocean Trout – apple, witlof

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Gold Band Snapper – radish, avruga

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Duck Breast – jerusalem artichoke, turnip cream

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Wagyu Sirloin – king brown mushrooms, kale

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Yuzu Sorbet

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Tetsuya’s Chocolate Cake

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Petite Fours

I chose the Australian wine pairing over the international one. Two of the wines are made exclusively for Tetsuya’s.

Melbourne – Attica

My main reason for visiting Melbourne was to eat at Attica. After watching the Chef’s Table episode I knew it was a meal worth traveling for. Like a lot of top restaurants these days, Attica only sells whole tables and I didn’t know anyone in Melbourne. Thankfully a friend in Sydney did and I had a lovely dinner companion and didn’t have to attempt to eat two meals.
Everything about the meal was incredible except some of the wine pairings. Had a sour beer and I’m not a huge fan of beer and there was only one red. Had a sherry that was very nice and the two dessert wines were good but a tad too sweet. The flavors in each dish were great and my new friend and I both agreed there was great textural elements. The vegemite in the pie wasn’t very strong, in fact it was one of my favorite dishes. Really hard to pick a favorite savory dish since they were all so different. The pork was melt in your mouth, avocado super fresh, blood pudding tart extraordinary, carrot super sweet, succulent lamb…you get the picture.

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Cook’s Leaves and Sour Cream

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Aged Santa Claus Melon

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Pearl Cooked in Paperbark

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Smashed Avo on Toast

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Smoked Pork

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An Imperfect History of Ripponlea

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Gazza’s Vegemite Pie

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Scallop and Wattlesoy

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Chewy Carrots

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Mutton Shell

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Sour Damper

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Kangaroo, Wattles and Waxflower

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All Parts of the Pumpkin

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Grilled Marron with Desert Lime

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Jumbuck (sheep) and Tulips

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Hot Jam Doughnut and Gumbi Gumbi

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Camel Milk Ice (little black specks are ants)

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Whipped Emu Egg with Quandong

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Attica Cheftales

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