Food

Uncorked's Uncommon Cuisine Revolution

Thursday, March 07, 2019

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Guests were told to “expect the unexpected”, and Uncorked definitely delivered on this promise. On Sunday, February 24, the bistro and wine bar hosted a Perrier-Jouët dinner — Uncorked's Uncommon Cuisine Revolution. The six-course dinner allowed the kitchen team to stretch its culinary muscles and dabble in molecular gastronomy, to the delight of those present.

The evening began with Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne and hors d'oeuvres of roasted bread cheese with Scotch bonnet and scallion pearls on breadfruit chips. Fun fact: there's no bread in bread cheese. In fact, it's a Finnish cheese also known as juustoleipä that's similar to halloumi. The squeaky cheese, which holds its shape when cooked, has a taste profile similar to Brie and with the heat from the Scotch bonnet pearls and saltiness of the breadfruit chip, made for a very tasty bite.

The intimate dinner's first course was seared tuna with citrus-cilantro foam that was paired with a William Fevre Petit Chablis. The tuna had a good sear and was cool and red in the centre. The combination of the fish, fried kale, citrus-cilantro foam and petit chablis was delicious. This was followed by the dramatically presented smoking shot. A shot glass of layers of hot pumpkin soup, ginger sorbet and Stone's ginger wine was nestled in dry ice and guests enjoyed 'shooting' the complex and flavourful soup course.

Sea scallops were given the royal treatment in the third course. Pan roasted and served with wasabi, honeycomb crumbs, sesame black rice pilaf and herbaceous pistou, the scallops still maintained their natural sweetness that was accentuated by the honeycomb and balanced by the brightness of the pistou. For this course, Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé was poured. The notes of strawberries, rose petals and candy, were great accompaniments to the fresh seafood, spice and herbs in the dish.

The main course was, in a word, ambitious. Port-glazed seared duck breast was served alongside micro greens, chicharrones (in this case made from duck skin, not pork) and an éclat de goyave that had guests wondering how it was achieved. The éclat — a globule with a similar texture to poached egg yolk — was the result of guava juice being introduced to sodium alginate. This spherification process is a key part of molecular gastronomy and is not an easy feat. Kudos, Uncorked. The dish, however, could have benefited from some acid. Such a dish requires a 'big' and 'meaty' red wine and the pairing of Thomas Barton Margaux was choice.

The thing with a duo of desserts is that they will battle taste buds for preference and with the offering of balsamic swirl ice cream with coconut pannacotta and honeycomb crunch, the pannacotta won. Silky, refreshing, flavourful and not too sweet, the pannacotta had the perfect jiggle and was very, very good. The balsamic reduction hardened when it met the cold ice cream creating chewy ribbons that lived in the grooves of the teeth like taffy. There are those who don't mind that sort of thing. But again, when comparing the balsamic swirl ice cream to the pannacotta, the execution of the latter proved more successful.

As if this was not enough food, guests were presented with a three-cheese board (Point Reyes bleu, Five County cheddar and Black Bomber aged cheddar) and glasses of Dow's 10-Year-Old Tawny Port. There was a draw for a bottle of 2008 Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque (a Champagne that is only produced during exceptional years) and each guest hoped that he/she would take it home. Alas, there was only one winner — Edward Khoury.

Uncorked co-principal Anna Kay von Dueszeln continues to challenge the kitchen, at which chef Lucian Dunn and senior sous chef Shaneka McDonald are at the helm, to explore, innovate and challenge itself. The Uncommon Cuisine Revolution dinner was a display of the bistro's greatest strengths and those who are regulars know that at Uncorked great food and wonderful service are to be expected.

 

 


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