Tuesday, August 12, 2008

El Bulli - sección dos

We continued on our El Bulli adventure with some other interesting tastes.

However, I missed a few of the small tasters in my first post on El Bulli. A mint leaf with coconut sorbet was one of them. A little bit of a same theme as the coconut from before but very refreshing as a palate cleanser.

Yes, there was a smear of something... but I'm afraid that I don't remember what it was (bad, bad food blogger, I know...).

But the next course was a bit different and consisted of two parts. I think it was called the LYO cream. The first part was a meringue with whipped egg white cream which you put in your mouth as a puff and then a spoon of egg yolk with parmesan. Together it was to mimic a mouthful of carbonara.

Unfortunately, the egg yolk had congealed a bit and the puff was a bit too powdery (causing hilarity as the mouthful caused one blogger to cough half the puff ALL over another blogger's arm... I will not name names but the graciousness of the coughed on blogger put my persistent giggling to shame). It was not a successful mouthful. I admit it might be our fault as we dallied before putting the egg yolk with parmesan in our mouths but the combo didn't work well in my book. Perhaps if the meringue had been floated on top of the egg yolk so it was all one mouthful.

Another one which came up was a cube of what I think was Turkish delight. It was very delicate, beautifully colored and the texture was like soft jelly. I did take a bite despite my instinctive gag factor reflex when in comes to eating anything floral.

I passed the rest to the boy.

This roll, or "Averantos" was both salty and crunchy, with what tasted like deep fried quinoa rolled around a soft crumbly textured black sesame like mousse.

It was very nutty and and crunchy and a little difficult to eat, which made me very grateful for the paper so that I could, in a very unladylike way, shovel it into my mouth.

The next taste before the savory main tastes, was a soup. Entitled buffalo milk , I believe it was made from the whey remaining after making buffalo cheese, topped by freeze dried strawberry and with basil matcha.

It was quite refreshing and at the bottom was a bit of honey like substance, perhaps royal jelly?

The next taste was my favorite of the evening. It was the razor clam/Laurencia. The fresh razor clam was just beautiful. Ever so slightly steamed, it was sweet and tasted of the sea. I have a weakness for razor clams anyways I must admit.

Even better was the agar agar ponzu jelly with Laurencia (a type of kombu, or seaweed from what I gather). Tasted all fresh, juicy and delish. Definitely a wonderful interpretation of the sea.

Mandarine flower/pumpkin oil with mandarine seeds - This was a mandarin sorbet which was drowned in fragrant pumpkin seed oil. You were asked to dig your spoon in to ensure you had both the sorbet as well as the oil in your mouth at the same time.

To me, this just didn't work at all. It tasted waxy and oily and the pumpkin oil just completely overwhelmed the sorbet. I could only manage 2 small tastes.

The next dish was savory/spun egg with egg yolk gnocchis - We were quite excited to get this as it was one of the few foods we thought we would be able to chew and use our jaws to eat. But looks can be deceiving. The gnocchi of egg yolk was made with the same encapsulated technology as the olive and burst in the mouth, while the dashi soup with shizo powder was very much overwhelmed by the amount of strong sesame oil which was drizzled on top. It was enhanced by fish roe (the little fuzzy orange blobs you see on the edges). Some of us loved it, while others had one bite and pronounced them over the bursting technology. I ate most of it, enjoying the mouthfeel of the different textures but disappointed by the amount of sesame oil which overpowered the dish.

The next dish was one which we all identified with as having strong Asian influences. Veal tendon in bone marrow soup. Flavored by star anise, braised until ultra tender, it was gelatinous in the best kind of way, melt in the mouth and sticky at the same time. It was delicious and made me want a bowl of "ngau gun ho" (beef tendon noodles) immediately. Very well done with a great stock which was sticky yet delicate and flavorful.

The next dish was something completely different for me. It was black garlic ravioli, paired with fresh almonds & a beautiful nub of what looked like cactus but tasted fresh, juicy and crisp. The ravioli had a sliver of garlic inside and was a bit too strong for my taste but when paired with the fresh almond, it tasted pretty good. I could only eat one of the black ravioli as strong garlic is not my friend (nor the boy's after I eat it) but the fresh almonds were delicious and I wouldn't mind more of those little cactus-y things!

Next up was mussel 2008 - half a dozen mussels, half flavoured with umeboshi sauce and the other half with dashi jelly, laid on top of laurentian seaweed.

Sadly, I'm not a fan of umeboshi but I liked the combo of the sweet tart taste of the umeboshi with the salty, sea taste of the mussel. The dashi jelly had a bit of texture to it, a little like a very, very fine fish roe jelly. The seafood was incredibly fresh and the flavors worked well together and tasted complimentary.

The water lily soup with cashew fruit has to be the most visually beautiful dish of the night. I loved the way it looked and was fragrant and pleasing to the eye and nose. It was so delicate and perfect, I was reluctant to dip my spoon in. I felt like I was destroying an live art installation.

Sadly, I'm not a fan of floral tastes so am not a good person to judge but I did like the delicate flavor of the refreshing soup and the flowers were not too floral (if that makes any sense) and I enjoyed the contrast of textures with the little bits that tasted like, but wasn't, pomelo (these were the little sprinkles you see best on the lower right of the picture). And yes, everything in that picture is edible...urr, except the dish of course.

We were then served game meat canape, which came as a thin piece of jerky, slightly toasted until a little bit crisp with a pate smeared across it and topped with flowers.

It was not as game-y or as intense as I though t it would be. I appreciate the effort that went into it but I thought it was only ok but nothing not something I would choose to have seconds of if offered.

A fitting end to part two is the suckling pig tail - served alongside a ham soup containing tofu and cantaloupe melon. The pig tail, in my own point of view, could have been crisper. It was a little chewy and much less crunchy than crackling. It was served with a sweet hoisin type sauce and again a little too salty for my liking.

The soup was delicate and slightly sweet, a nice counterbalance as it was served chilled.

Hope to have part three and my explanations (and excuses) up soon!

1 comment:

susan said...

Wow. some of those things were beautiful - pity about the taste.