Geranium 2nd Visit — Copenhagen (5/2019)

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It had been a few years since I visited Geranium (also for lunch). It is Copenhagen’s only Michelin 3-star restaurant. Since my last visit, they remodeled to bring part of the kitchen out in the open. They also changed the overall feel of the service to be a little less formal. Upon making a reservation, they take about a $100 deposit. They are still located in a building attached to a sports stadium (there is a view of the field from one of the kitchen areas).

They offer the same tasting menu for lunch as for dinner. They also offer three distinct levels of wine pairings, by-the-glass options, and a juice pairing. I went with the juice pairing along with a glass of white Bordeaux that they poured with a Coravin.

The first presentation was lobster in a cold milk and lemon verbena custard, topped with juice from fermented carrots and sea buckthorn oil.
The next small bite was some Jerusalem artichoke crisps with a pickled walnut leaf mayonnaise dip.

This was the very nice white Bordeaux that I had.

The next snack was razor clam tartare with aromatic herbs and crème fraiche inside edible “shells” made by the pastry chef to look like razor clam shells.

The next small bite was free range (a little bit of humor from them) snail eggs in a smoked cream cheese soup with oyster, dried biscuits, and nettles. The smokiness was a nice aromatic and taste effect.
I also ordered the optional course, which was presented at this time. It was Bulgarian ossetra caviar, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil, and pumpkin seed water. The pumpkin added a nice nuttiness to the dish experience. The blown-glass dish with black sand on the bottom was made on Bornholm Island. It was the inspiration for this food presentation.

The first juice pairing was Granny Smith apple juice, elderflower, egg whites and thyme oil. The ingredients were shaken together martini-style and then poured at the table.

This course featured scallop “red stones” (raw scallops colored with beetroot) with horseradish cream for dipping (not shown).

The next course was celeriac, dried mussels, Söl (seaweed from Iceland, shown on the right), celeriac juice, smoked yogurt, and pickled seeds. This was warm and had a mostly vegetable flavor.

For the full write-up, click here.

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kadeau — Copenhagen (5/2019)

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I heard about kadeau from a foodie friend who visits Copenhagen often. It has two Michelin stars and bases its cuisine on the ingredients from Bornholm Island. There are many food options in Copenhagen to choose from for the one night I had not yet reserved. I decided to try a new place rather than go back to any of the places I’d already visited. When making a reservation, the restaurant takes a deposit of about $100. Even though it is a small restaurant, they accept solo diner reservation. They stagger their reservation times, but each table will only have one seating for the evening. The restaurant is located down a narrow street behind an inconspicuous door (although there is a sign).

There is little separation between the kitchen and the dining areas. The décor seemed to integrate the two areas. There was also an outside courtyard area for drinks before or after dinner. In the kitchen, they have taken advantage of an existing chimney in the space and set up a kitchen fireplace for grilling and smoking.

They offer a single tasting menu each evening. In addition to the wine list, wine and non-alcoholic parings are available. I chose to go with the juice pairing as well as a glass of a 2014 Mâconnais Chardonnay.

The menu started out with a beverage made with water kefir, gooseberries, oxidized pear and fig leaf oil. This made for a kind of herbal palate awakener. This was followed with a series of snacks.

The first snack was a tart of green asparagus, fermented peas, fried kale and egg yolk. The kale gave it a nice soft crunch feel with each bite.
Next was kohlrabi, cured in asparagus juice and then cooked in fire, black currant and nobilis fir in the form of marinated pinecones and pine shoots. There was a pleasant, vegetable-firm crunch texture.

The next dish featured razor clams with gooseberry juice, white currants, cherry blossoms, rose petals and elderberry flower buds. This was light and flavorful.
The plate featured brill (similar to turbot) marinated in cherry blossom oil and garnished with marigold and cherry blossoms. These flavors blended nicely together.

For the full write-up, click here.

noma 2nd Visit — Copenhagen (5/2019)

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My first visit to noma was several years ago to the original restaurant, where I had the classic menu. Since then, noma has moved to a new location. It’s still in the same general area of Copenhagen, but north of the old location. It still has 2 Michelin stars. The new restaurant is much more expansive than the original location. When checking in for dinner, guests were led to a greenhouse where a hard cider and a non-alcoholic rhubarb-fennel beverage were offered. The menu has also changed. A series of seasonal menus are now offered throughout the year. In the winter/spring, they offer a seafood menu. The summer menu is focused on vegetables. Fall/winter offers a game and forest menu.

I had secured a reservation at the community table for the seafood menu. This seating is in a different part of the complex from the regular dining tables. We were all led from the greenhouse where we checked in, through gardens of herbs and produce, and into a building which had a large table located next to a large kitchen/staging area. A booking at the community table is prepaid for the food at the time of reservation (as are normal table seatings). An additional requirement at the community table is that diners must order either the wine pairing or the non-alcoholic pairing (which is paid for after dinner). It is possible to cancel a reservation up to five days before the scheduled dining date without penalty.

I chose to have the juice pairing. The first one presented was a green gooseberry juice infused with elderflower. The alcoholic pairing began with a sour beer.
The meal began with fresh (opened 3-4 minutes prior to serving) Norwegian scallop, served raw and seasoned with salt. The roe was separated and presented just to the side. I was expecting the flavor to have a touch of sweetness, but I did not get that.

The next course was an array of lightly cooked and raw clams. Venus clams (cooked) seasoned with Mirabelle plum juice (front left), carpet clams (cooked) with sorrel and cooked grains (front right), mahogany clams (raw) from north of the Arctic Circle seasoned with fresh cream and pine salt (back left), and razor clams (raw) served with raw walnuts and cooked grains. Textures from raw walnuts with razor clams and cooked grains with two of the other clams were a nice complement. The center of the plate had a piece of quince cooked in a salt brine. It was recommended that we squeeze this over the clams for additional seasoning.

Wine pairing was from Central Spain (a pre-phylloxera Verdejo).

For the full write-up, click here.

Pineapple and Pearls 5th Visit — Washington DC (4/2019)

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Since my visit to Pineapple and Pearls just over a year ago, the dining options changed. In the past, I could sit at the bar and prepay for the full tasting menu with beverages optional. Currently, sitting at the bar comes with a different, bar-specific menu, with some items form the tasting menu and some just for the bar. However, they did allow me to book a solo (or odd-numbered party seats) at the Chef’s Counter, where you pre-pay for the menu and the beverage pairings option of your choice (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). So, this ended up being the first time I was able to sit at the Chef’s Counter overlooking the kitchen. While waiting to be seated, we were offered a glass of champagne or white tea.

I generally don’t do wine pairings, so I went with the non-alcoholic beverage pairing.

The first beverage was made using an elaborate drip coffee technique. What resulted was a hibiscus tea and fruit-blend with orange juice, apple juice, yuzu-honey syrup, lemon, thyme, and lemon zest. A different mixture was prepared for those who selected the wine pairings.

The first dish arrived soon and consisted of a slice of wagyu beef tallow pie made with smoked A5 wagyu rendered fat and a red onion gelée on a rosemary pastry crust. The other item was a vol au vent of flavors of escargot – creamed parsley, creamed beurre blanc, sautéed American snails.
The next course was scallops crudo prepared in a mille-feuilles style with white asparagus and fermented kohlrabi (providing a nice texture contrast).

At the table, they poured a brown butter and sudachi hollandaise sauce.
This was paired with a celery and green pepper soda.

At the beginning, I had asked if I could order a glass of wine (in addition to having the non-alcoholic beverage pairings). They said they do not normally have a by-the-glass wine menu. But she asked what I was interested in trying. I had said that in the past, (when I sat at the bar), they offered some interesting wines, like a French Chardonnay from a magnum bottle. She said they would bring me something to have. It came with the next course and was a 2006 Puligny-Montrachet that was very good.

For the full write-up, click here.

Eden Hill 4th Visit — Seattle (4/2019)

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This visit to Eden Hill completed the cycle for me regarding trying the menus for all four seasons. Up front, we were told there would be 24 courses. So, with the warmer weather of springtime, I was anticipating smaller and lighter courses, rather than the larger and heartier courses from winter.
As expected, the wine list had some changes, with a few interesting-looking wines by the glass.

To start off, I selected the 1996 Spanish Rioja. I also picked the rosemary tattoo this time.
The first bite offered was a tartare of Shikoku oyster and wintergreen scallop. This was mixed with a kosho vinaigrette (yuzu-kosho is a blend of chilis fermented with salt and yuzu juice and zest. The liquid nitrogen kept things cool and made for an attention-getting opening.

In the rear was a puffed salmon skin chicharrons with salmon tartare, sorrel and . Up front was a scallop chip with scallops, caviar, crème fraiche and madrone bark.
The next presentation was a sweet tuile in a cone shape with oxalis daisy salad at the bottom, Anderson Ranch lamb tartare, and garden flowers at the top.

Next was a one-bite play on a Cubano sandwich, served as a croquet and made with shoulder bacon.
This was followed by a tasty fried quail leg, served on empty quail eggs.

The next bite was a piece of fresh focaccia fried and served with Chilean shrimp tartare made with fresh lemon and soy sauce infused with the roasted shrimp heads. The mayonnaise on the bottom was made from a demi-glace of the shrimp bodies. Frying the bread provided a nice texture contrast.
The next plate featured a halibut ceviche served with local white asparagus and lemon segments poached in lemon syrup.

For the full write-up, click here.

Nouri — Singapore (11/2018)

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Nouri came as a recommendation from the restaurant team at Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan in Singapore. They had a wonderful lunch there and thought it would be a good new place for me to try. Several months later, I managed to add it to my dining agenda for a planned trip to Singapore. They serve both lunch and dinner, and reservations can be made through the Chope website/app. They require a credit card to confirm a reservation. The chef, Ivan Brehm, is from Brazil, has beenin Singapore for about six years, and has spent time at places like Per Se in New York and The Fat Duck (six years). With the open kitchen right next to the dining area, one can watch the team at work from any seat. For dinner, they offer a 5-course and a 7-course tasting menu (samples shown below) or a 7-course Omakase menu where you don’t know what will be served (for a slightly higher price).

In addition to wine pairing and sake pairing options, they have several wines offered by the glass and bottle. They also have an extensive tea selection (though not tea pairings at this point) because the chef spent some time working in a tea shop. We had a white peony tea with the Omakase menu dinner. We ended with a Silver Needle white tea.

The meal started off with bread and broth. The broth started out from 7 different vegetables from their farm in Cameron Highlands. It was topped off with a little mustard oil. In the white bowl was a silken soft cheese (in the style of silken tofu, but made with whole milk) mixed with a little egg to form a panna cotta or chawanmushi to have with/on the bread.

The first snack was compressed bitter gourd with fermented black beans, sesame seeds and mint. There were several flavors and textures to stimulate the palate.
The next snack was abalone, kimchee, mashed pear, and kimchee granita.

The next course featured citrus-cured hamachi (amberjack), served with Osetra caviar, sunflower petals, hand-pressed coconut milk and basil oil.

The next dish was Carabineros (deepwater scarlet) prawns, served with local cherry tomatoes, broccolini, a tomato/seafood/olive stew broth, basil oil, and some black olive oil underneath. It was fished at the table with a roasted tomato broth. This was a warm dish with a nice tartness to it.

For the complete write-up, click here.

Restaurant Labyrinth — Singapore (11/2018)

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Restaurant Labyrinth is a 1-star Michelin establishment that takes the traditional local flavors of traditional Singapore cuisine and present them in new and modern ways. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance and can be done with the Chope reservation website/app. They only offer a multi-course tasting menu for dinner, and they feature locally-sourced ingredients (Singapore and the nearby regions that contribute to Singaporean flavors). They do ask about allergies and dietary restrictions beforehand. They have their wine list on a tablet for review.

As part of the introduction, they bring to the table a display of many of the ingredients that will be featured on the evening’s menu.
The first presentation was not listed on the menu and was a oolong tea-smoked quail egg with a runny yolk inside.

With the quail egg, we were brought some kombucha (aged 5 weeks) infused with rosella (hibiscus).
The menu presentations began with three platters. The waffle triangles were served with chicken liver paté, goji berry jam and pandan juice sprinkled on top. Next to it were the homemade lapcheong (like Chinese sausage) with barley, diced chicken, crispy rice, and pickled bok choy in a burnt rice “nori” (or crêpe). On the far right were the small bites (“nasi lemak” cheong fun) made from egg yolk gel and ikan bilis sambal (dried anchovy chili paste sauce) wrapped in rice pastry skin and topped with deep-fried black chicken skin, cucumbers, and fried anchovies.

For the complete write-up, click here.