Friday, June 21, 2013

Hannibal: We're Having Friends for Dinner

On Tuesday June 18th we invited Janice Poon, the remarkable food stylist for the Hannibal television series airing on NBC and CITY, to help us host a dinner party inspired by her work on the show and her wildly entertaining blog Feeding Hannibal.

The evening's diabolical menu

Janice Poon setting the table Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
To execute Janice's vision we asked Chef Matt Kantor Chef of Bero to play the role of Dr. Lector and cook up the diabolical menu.

Before being seated, guests were treated to Iberico Jamon and Iberico Chorizo to accompany their cocktail. An entire bone-in leg of Iberico Jamon sat in its holder table-side, this time with its hoof intact - toenails and all. Normally the sight would be very much welcome, especially in any great Spanish restaurant or bar but for tonight it helped set the scene, tying in the whole head-to-toe theme of the evening.

Appropriately named The Chesapeake Ripper, the cocktail's inspiration came from a now infamous scene in the show that saw mushrooms and fungi growing from dead bodies, later to be harvested for a devilish soup. Compass Box Great King Street Artist's Blend Scotch was infused with shiitake mushrooms to create an earthy-sweet-fug and was then mixed with Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximenez Dulce Sherry for added sweetness and depth.

The Chesapeake Ripper Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Marrow bone candle holders and peacock feathers run down the length of the table Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson

With a menu devised largely of offal, diners were treated to a scene taken directly from the show, which saw guests applauding the efforts of Dr. Lector or in the case of our dinner, Janice Poon and Chef Kantor.

Alison introduces Janice Poon to the table Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson

After introductions were made, our hostess joined the table to discuss the show with eager diners. As each course was presented, Chef Kantor took time to step away from the kitchen to introduce each dish.

Fabada Asturiana with Blood Sausage Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Spleen with Bacon, Red Onions and Sage Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Lung a la Basquase Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson

Hannibal is a classicist so like the table setting, dishes were presented elegantly and showcased each element with precision. For most of us this was our first time trying spleen or lungs. The spleen had a slight livery texture, also reminiscent of kidneys. The lung had a very light flavour, mostly bringing a textural element to the dish, similar to mushrooms.

A view from outside The Kitchen Studio as the chefs prepare each course Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Discussing all things Hannibal at the table Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson

As a special off-menu surprise, Chef Kantor added a dish of veal brain stuffed pasta with porcini and chanterelles.

Veal Brain Pasta with Porcini and Chanterelles Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Loin with Tuna Sauce (Serf and Surf) Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Tongue en Papillote with Tomato and Mushroom Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson
Sanguinaccio alla Napoletana (Blood and Cocoa Pudding) Photo Credit: Brilynn Ferguson

Each dish was spectacular in its own right but the dessert had everyone is the kitchen devouring spoonfuls of the rich chocolate and blood pudding. Hannibal would be so proud. We can't wait until season two! A big thank you to our guests that attended the evening, and of course Janice Poon, Chef Kantor and team and to The Kitchen Studio.

Bero  889 Queen St. East opening mid July 2013

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