I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to spend $185 a head (plus drinks) on Tetsuya's 10 course degustation. And here it was... the first birthday of jenius.com.au, which also coincided with my very own birthday!
As the countdown begun, I eagerly read up and drooled over every review online. The week before, I started fantasizing about Tetsuya's signature dish. How it intrigued me... the texture and taste of what lay beneath the crusty konbu (kelp).
The service at Tetsuya's really impressed me. From the moment we drove in via the sensored gates, it seems like everyone was notified of our arrival. The valet parking attendent briskly drove Zen's car away as we were ushered indoors. I suppose it made sense that the seating arrangements and table numbers were set already, seeing that most people would have made bookings at least a few months in advance.
Soon after being seated, a wait staff brought out a basket of freshly baked and still warm sourdough and white Italian bread rolls. The black truffle and parmesan salsa butter was nothing like I had imagined. Its aroma was magnificent. I lathered each mouthful of bread up with a thick spread of the butter. Just for the record, I managed to finish off 2/3 of the pot, along with 2 sourdough rolls. I am in desperate need of a jar of this at home!
black truffle and parmesan salsa butter
Starters was the pea soup with bitter chocolate sorbet. The pea soup was served in a fancy glass... it was robust and full bodied, but the bitter chocolate sorbet didn't really do it for me.
1st course: pea soup with bitter chocolate sorbet
The next was an extra course (add $18)... four plump oysters were served with Tetsuya's famous oyster dressing -grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, soy and ginger. They were absolutely divine!
oysters with grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, soy and ginger
There are specific ways to ensure you make the most of each dish. Take for example, the second course; we were instructed to break open the scallop mousse so that each fork full contained a bit of everything. This dish was so elegant... creamy and scrumptious!
2nd course: smoked ocean trout & avruga caviar
The leek and crab custard was such a delicacy. The custard was silky soft... the savoury essence of the leek and egg simply complimented the flakes of crab.
2nd course: leek and crab custard
The third part of the 2nd course consisted of raw scallops [all-time favourite :-) of mine]... which leads me to say that this dish was the highlight of the night! All the contrasting textures and flavours were married together so well. There were these tiny citrus things which exploded with flavour... the cubed and what appeared to be buttered and toasted coutons deliciously highlighted the light and creamy textures of the scallop. I want more!
2nd course: scallop carpaccio with red wine vinaigrette
It must have been at least 2 hours into the night already because I had started to feel the effects of consuming the 2 bread rolls. Nonetheless, the ocean trout was lovely... as I had fantasized. The salty crusted konbu enhanced every tender bit of ocean trout.
3rd course: confit of petuna tasmanian ocean trout with konbu, daikon and fennel
Another favourite course was the next. Truely simple ingredients of basil, tomato and balsamic, served in the most delectable manner.
4th course: ravioli of Queensland spanner crab with tomato and basil vinaigrette
Abalone? This dish took me by surprise, as there hadn't been any mention of it before. It was such a delightful surprise... the abalone was carefully crafted into artful pieces. The braised ox tail and orange flavours were so flavoursome. It was mouth-watering goodness.
5th course: tasmanian baby abalone with braised ox tail and orange and pepper
[Edit 1/08/07: Some of you have queried why I didn't write anything about the spatchcock... it was pure laziness! So if you were wondering, the spatchcock was moist & tender. The olives and capers were a flavoursome blend which didn't overpower the natural juices at all. Overall, very rich & succulent... although more greens would have also been nice! ]
6th course: twice cooked de-boned spatchcock with olive and caper jus
The last of the savoury courses was fantastic. Imagine thinly sliced wagyu beef rolled up with a leaf of shiso and cooked medium rare. The earthy quality of the mushroom and the oomph of the lemon, sea salt flakes and wasabi brought me to total amazement. Each of the individual flavours brought out the best in each other... ah, that's what I call team work!
7th course: grilled wagyu beef with lime and wasabi
We were advised to eat this in one go. And so we did... it was sweet... and that's about all I can recall :-P
comte with lentils
The palate cleansers were so, so, so good! The beetroot and blood orange sorbet was vibrant and uber refreshing. Tetsuya's strawberry shortcake was great too... we were instructed to mix the layers together. I cheekily tried them apart. The bottom was nutty and fragrant... inbetween the cream and strawberry syrup were bits of berries... nothing too special when eaten apart, but absolutely spectacular when consumed together!
8th course: beetroot and blood orange sorbet with strawberry shortcake
What can I say? The next one up was another favourite! I love dates and white beans. The chewy texture and the sweet caramel flavours worked wonders with the shot of espresso.
9th course: vanilla bean ice cream with white bean, dates and espresso
Zen and I :-)
I asked a wait staff to take this photo of us... and somewhere in the conversation, she asked what we were celebrating... hooray, birthday cake!
my 10th course
Zen's 10th course: chocolate terrine with mascarpone and cognac anglaise
I didn't like the cocoa dusted sweet potato balls. It was floury and bitter! But the dates and cookie centred coconut balls were yummy! They looked so simple to make... I might just give them a go in the kitchen!
and more petit fours
Overall, I loved Tetsuya's to bits! And yes, the 4 hour dining experience was totally worth every dollar! Thanks for finally making this happen, Zen!
Next on the list... El Bulli!!