You Need An Egg?… Not So Fast!

June 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hokkaido Sea Scallop Carpaccio. Slow-Cooked Egg. White Truffle Dressing

Gorge on the picture all you like but just to make myself clear: nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can describe how sensual the whole experience was. It was the equivalent of some drug that makes your eyelids flutter in a pre-faint state and your lips curve up ever so slightly from trying to suppress a hit of euphoria and your jaws slow down to a munching tempo of around Largo.

Words cannot describe that absurdly soft, absurdly smooth texture of the egg, how it envelops itself like a liquid snake around those succulent, wonderful scallops and how it sings with that white truffle dressing and dance with the flimsy lettuce strands as those dainty bits of chives do the backup singing.

Do you know, by the way, that the slow-cooked egg is termed by David Chang (of Momofuku) as ‘the sexy egg’? That:

‘A slow-poached egg– say, at 143°F (61°C) for 90 minutes– is that rare, perfect synthesis of greenmarket and high tech. When cracked open, the thing spills out ludicrously egg-shaped and ridiculously soft, the yolk suspended between raw and cooked, the cloudy white freed from that slight rubberiness I never knew bothered me until I had an egg without it.’

Says TIME writer Joel Stein in this article.

Have I caught your attention on the egg yet? For the more experimentally inclined, go ahead and read the paper published on Food Biophyics by César Vega and Ruben Mercadé-Prieto entiteld Culinary Biophysics: on the Nature of the 6X°C Egg (there is a free PDF download), where they explored the time-temperature combination of cooking the slow cooked egg in a more technical and less emotional way than I did… kinda like this:

(credits to Khymos blog post, image from Culinary Biophysics: on the Nature of the 6X°C Egg, fig.8, pg 158)

instead of like this:

Under the influence... (This is not, my friend, posed.)

And then there is the Truffle Parpadelle.

Smoked egg. How did, and could a poutry ovum be so glorious? It was like a damned socialite among the layers of slippery pasta and cunning mushrooms.

Truffle Pappardelle. Wild Forrest Mushrooms, Black Truffle. Smoked Organic Egg.

Incredible. Every time I taste something like this, I feel like my tastebuds stumbled upon Alice’s Wonderland in Pandora’s damned box – an amusement park where truffles bloom like cherry blossoms and drive up your nose to tap dance there.

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Introducing, lads and ladettes, my partner in gluttonous crime (glime?), F.

When ever we come together, wolfing down Ukranian crepes in East Village or slurping up raw scallops in Lan Kwai Fong, one of us would inevitably at some point, wonder out loud how odd of a duo we are.

Happy is the ladette who just got a art house job offer on the phone...

On the fields of Vassar...

(Grant Wood, American Gothic. http://www.chrisdenengelsman.nl)

I’m starting to think all these friends in initials I address here are like my secret agents.

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Gold by Harlan Goldstein, Level 2 LKF Tower 33 Wyndham Street | Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong, China

Decor: 2/5
Service: 3/5
Taste: 5/5
Price/head: 300-600 HKD (lunch)
Five years from now, I’m going to remember: Hokkaido Sea Scallop Carpaccio with Slow-Cooked Egg and White Truffle Dressing, Truffle Pappardellem with Wild Forrest Mushrooms, Black Truffle and Smoked Organic Egg. The egg…. the egggggggggg. And also, sadly, the terrible, distasteful, gold and shiny decor. Well, more the reason to CLOSE YOUR EYES WHILE EATING. (The outside lounge area was quite decent though.)

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That Potato Did Not Warn Me

June 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pretty harmless looking huh?

I tried to put off writing about the Paul Liebrandt meal for a while because sometimes, it just feels decent to leave some experiences as… well, just experiences — instead of turning them into some flat, lifeless narration from my biased point of view as I am about to do right now.

Here is the thing about ‘molecular gastronomy’. What am I supposed to feel about it? These days, I look at restaurant and food review websites and would always feel an unstoppable force in the form of a grimace sprout itself over my face whenever I see the face. It’s so embarrassingly pretentious. Critics are sick of the phrase. Even the chefs that are supposedly practicing such ‘style’ of cooking deny association with it, or expand it into a longer string of milder words to the likes of ‘bringing a personal and experimental touch to tradition [insert nationality] cuisine’, while sneakily spherificating peach juice and turning soybeans into edible paper with some Dürer illustration in fruit ink printed all over them.

Yet… I love it. I love it in all its pretentiousness and triumphs and failures. I didn’t like the beef tartare, there’s something awkward between the meat and the blini. I loved the foie gras spheres, they were powerfully graceful. I remember every single ingredient and every conversation that punctuated them because this is one of those few meals with the rents when we would inevitably focus 70% of our conversation on the food we’re eating and the rest on memories associated with them. It was – how would you put it – fun , from beginning to end. Strangely enough, the most memorable moment came at the start of the meal as I put the innocent looking amuse-bouche into my mouth. It looked like a tatter-tot in the shape of a perfect sphere, and I was brutally ambushed as it exploded into a sweet rush of liquid potato in my mouth. It came as such as surprise it left me sitting there, dazed, with a silly look of wonderment on my face, like a child who just discovered that babies don’t come out of cracked eggs.

You only discover babies don’t come out of cracked eggs so many times in your life… and then it’s up to potatoes like this to keep the fun coming.

Foie gras with beet borscht gelée, mustard apple and black olive

Wagyu Flairton beef and a demo on how to paint with vegetables.

Beef tartare on blini with a fleck of edible gold

Brioche with passion fruit, coffee and banana. That square of Stilton on the plank of banana? Good one.

'Smoked Caramel'... popcorn, brown butter crumble, pomegranate. Big. Bang.

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Corton, 239 W Broadway, New York 10013, (Btwn Walker & White St)

Decor: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Taste: 4.5/5
Price/head: 120 USD (dinner)

A documentary following ten years of chef Paul Liebrandt‘s life in the kitchen, A Matter Of Taste, is premiering on HBO today!

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