Saturday, October 21, 2006

Day 6 - Tetsuya's

Weather: Overcast and windy

We started out by checking out Tetsuya's location. We didn't want to get lost on this most important of occasions.

ahhh the Holy Grail

Spent the day indoors at the Powerhouse Museum. We were there till three p.m. but still could not finish all the exhibitions. We decided to leave anyway 'cos we were exhausted and needed to rest before dinner.

an excellent museum

My favourite exhibitions were those on social history, one on the development of retail in Australia and the other on women's work. Oddly, I was very moved by a two-minute video on the post-war reconstruction of the National Museum of Beirut. Apparently, just as war was breaking out, someone had thought of encasing the precious sculptures and statues in concrete, to protect them from the bombing. The video showed exhibit after exhibit being excavated from the concrete, intact.

Finally, it was time for dinner at Tetsuya's. Here is a blow by blow account. Unfortunately there are no photos; we were too much in awe to commit blasphemy:

The experience was just what we expected it to be – pretty plates, menu recitals – but even better. The service was relatively informal, attentive yet not at all stuffy, none of that waiters staring at the back of your head while you eat stuff. No worries about being under-dressed either. The clientele was casually dressed (for a fine dining restaurant) so we were not out of place (I think we put in more effort than some people!).

Even before the waiter had gotten round to explaining the night's menu to us, a plate of amuse bouche appeared: four little snow egg and caviar sandwiches. Just to keep the mouth amused, of course, together with some no-expense-spared black truffle butter and rolls.

Had we dined there before? No. Did we know it was a ten-course meal? Yes. Was there anything we didn't eat? No. Did we have any problems with food that was raw or cooked rare? No.

We started with an optional course: Pacific rock oysters dressed in mirin and some other stuff. Would we say no to oysters? Of course not. They were scrumptious.

Then came the twin starters – shrimp with foie gras, beetroot with caviar. We were off to a good start.

HM's favourite course was a trio of Tuna Marinated in Soy and Mirin, Grilled Spring Bay Scallop with Wakame and Lemon, and Gazpacho with Spiced Tomato Sorbet. My favourite course was the Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Daikon and Fennel, the chef's signature dish, served accompanied by a seasonal green salad. The trout was "confitted" to perfection, not a tad over or under-cooked. And the texture, the texture. Sitting on a bed of daikon and a smear of wasabi sauce, the trout was delectable.

The meat dishes, while good, were less spectacular. The grilled wagyu beef with asian mushrooms and lime jus was tasty mostly because of the quality of the beef itself. The sauce reminded us both of Bovril, hmm.

Surprisingly the spatchcock was delicious. It's a bird I usually dislike, not least because it's scrawny and dried out when on the bone. Twice-cooked and de-boned, with braised daikon and bread sauce, it was tender and flavourful, ably complemented by the sauce and the daikon.

We turned down the offer of a cheese platter, already "cheesed off" by the indiscriminate use of generic cheddar by other food outlets.

The desserts were memorable. In order of descending merit: Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Terrine with Mascarpone and Cognac Anglaise, Orange and Honey with Black Pepper Sorbet, and Hazelnut Soup with Chocolate and Hazelnut Sorbet. The last unfortunately was a bit like eating liquidized Ferrero Rocher.

We finally left at 10 p.m., three hours after we arrived.

I liked the fact that I didn't have to think about what to choose and what to eat. It was all good. How wonderful to leave it up to the expert and to just sit back and be told what I was about to eat. I could really get used to this.

Footnote: HM managed to get bitten by mozzies under the table. How does she do it? Shame on Tetsuya though for harbouring mozzies.


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