Friday, January 27, 2012

Splendido's New Tasting Menu

I love to share my experiences exploring how our best chefs are evolving their cuisine. Victor Barry and his excellent associates are always refining what the do well and exploring new ways to please our palates.

Tonight was my opportunity to experience Splendido's new tasting menu, supervised by exec sous chef Patrick Kriss, in Victor Barry's absence.

We began with cream of cauliflower shooters perfectly accompanied by pate brisee crackers on which was cauliflower puree with "cracked" coriander, lime puree with lime zest and roasted cauliflower seasoned with espelette and lime juice.

A smoked Rocky Point oyster with a sublime sauce of sunchoke puree and potato foam, topped with sunchoke chips.

Shalom Farms venison tartar was accompanied by a slice of fabulous pastrami venison tongue that was so juicy and flavourful, a parsnip crisp, sea buckthorn puree, elderberry puree, parsnip puree, a granola of oats and sunflower seeds, wrasped hazelnuts and dehydrated parsnip peel powder. A complexity of flavours and textures that all came together in a beautiful symphonic experience.

Then, we enjoyed a dish that I love that only Splendido does, cooking a raw egg at the table with truffled butter (and bacon when it is offered, but today, this was a spontaneous effort just for my guest and I, so, no bacon today). Towards the end of cooking, a waiter brought a small pot of a chicken and truffle jus reduced with port, brandy, madeira, shallots and chopped perigourd truffles. This seductive reduction was spooned over the finished fried egg....then more shaved black Perigourd truffles! What a truly delectable dish!

Another "off piste" addition from the regular menu, in a mini portion, was chestnut puree filled angnolotti accompanied by glazed parsnip, toasted hazelnuts, pine nuts, bits of green onion and coffee, brown butter sauce. What a delectable choice. The pasta was so delicate and the perfect complement to the mild sweet filling and complementary sauce.

Nipissing quail ballontine with chanterelle and hedgehog mushrooms, poached quince and lots of marvellous perigourd truffles. A great dish of luxurious, contrasting flavours.

Next, we were presented with a mildly sweet, creamy texture, perfect boudin noir and crisp, juicy pork belly. These were accompanied on the plate by caramelized apple puree, cocoa nib, confit turnip and walnut oil. Just another fabulous dish that we truly enjoyed.

Whipped Chateau de Bourgogne cheese with endive, confit of kumquat with a grapefruit vinaigrette. This was a dish of sublime subtleties.

Refreshing New Foundland cloudberry sorbet with Greek yogurt topped with crumbled, roasted white chocolate and sided with crisp meringue. This was a very refreshing dish.

Our final dish was a pear and walnut cake with chestnut puree, cranberry and tonka bean and white chocolate ice cream.

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