Tuesday, April 01, 2008
a seat at the kitchen table (2)
Previously: The 15-course Kitchen Table tasting menu at Colborne Lane, where kitchen successes are leading duds 7-1 at halftime.
Venison is a meat I have fond memories of eating while living in England due to the reactions I provoked in my housemates whenever I prepared it. This was during the Mad Cow scare of '97 and everyone thought I had lost my marbles, since at first glance I appeared to be eating beef patties. Reassurances never dispelled their fears, as if I was pulling a fast one on them. Colborne Lane's rendition was juicy and tender, a piece of meat I could have happily eaten a few more ounces of.
The surprise was the parsnip puree. Attempts to eat parsnips in any form have not gone well in the past, despite the efforts of good chefs. This version I quickly shovelled away, possibly because other flavourings dulled the normal gag-inducing taste of the vegetable.
By this point, our stomachs wondered how much more they could process, as the small plates had slowly added up.
Somewhere along the line we debated about the nature of the relationship between a pair of gentlemen sitting upstairs and their overdressed dinner companions. All we knew is on a trip to another part of the restaurants, members of our table overhead the dinner companions complain about their evening and how weird the food was. We could cross "foodies" off our list of suspected relationships.
After a pause, out came the nitro...
The waiter brought in a silver bowl filled with liquid nitrogen, to which he added a mocha cream base, producing instant ice cream in front of our eyes. The steaming bowl helped cool down the warm room a bit, while we stared in fascination at the dessert being produced in front of us. Once the ice cream thickened, it was taken back into the kitchen and readied for its role in the next dish.
By the time the bill was settled, nearly five-and-a-half hours had passed since we entered the restaurant. The night flew by, a sure sign we had been entertained by the entire experience - laughing with friends and restaurant staff and enjoying the range of plates that had crossed the table.
More photos on Flickr. - JB