Monday, 21 March 2011

Munch Rattlesnake..... err Eat Cobra

So it's been a while since I've done this deed as life has been busy with work and other stuff. So finally....

I was luckily enough to be invited to join the the secret dinner experience that is Cobra Ottawa. Essentially as most of you probably know it is a very hard dinner to get into as they only choose five guests every month or so and it is out of a pool of hundreds. So when I got my mysterious email I was well to say.. excited. I won't go over the whole process because it will be more exciting if you do get picked and finding it out for yourself. I will however comment on the meal. Let's do it in in courses.

1. Course 1: Yak's Heart Tartare (Oz)
 Ok so it was a tartare of yak served with shrimp chips. The chips were actually one of my favourite parts of the dish. It was light yet extremely flavourful and tasted almost of a shrimp broth. The tartar was very solid although I felt the dish was a bit too light. It consisted of the yak's heart which had the texture of almost beef heart and in it was thai basil, parsley, and one other flat leaf herb.  I was longing for something to keep up to the texture of the heart maybe a a bit heartier spice or potentially a spice oil of sorts. Maybe even a cracked egg would have helped add some richness to the dish. However, what I believe he was trying to do was create and light and refreshing first course and I believe he did so excellently.

2. Fermented Soy beans with an Asian Ensemble (Black Cat)
So this dish was extremely interesting. Patricia from Black Cat decided to use fermented soy beans which if you have ever seen them are like a big gooey mess of beans with a very tangy but musky smell. So the idea with this dish was to use the accompaniments with the beans. So there were some sauces and condiments. The two I choose were the ginger paste and the dark soy. I combined all my ingredients and ate with chopsticks. Each bite was a new experience of flavours and a surprise to my palate. Also, the dark soy totally brought the whole dish together. I can honestly say that good soy is unbelievable and recommend that everyone invest in one good bottle. This is what I will say about the fermented soy beans: not my thang. However, this dish conceptually was absolutely brilliant. I can this without a shadow of a doubt say that Patricia Larkin has a nuanced culinary mind and I do feel that she will be recognized for her genius at GMP 2011.

3. Tripe w/ fried polenta and salad (Domus)
Sorry about the picture I totally forgot to take a picture of the dish before I got into it. So this was tripe slowly cooked in a tomato sauce w/ fried polenta cubes and fennel and blood orange salad.  Adam took inspiration from I believe it was a Florentine street food, in which you get the polenta and tripe in the newspaper cone and eat it from there. I was extremely happy with this dish. The sauce had a beautiful brunoise of carrots, celery, and onion which lent it those traditional Italian flavours. The blood orange and fennel paired well together with what seemed like a subtle vinaigrette possibly white wine vinegar. Which you dipped the polenta cubes into the sauce they become little flavourful pillows with the tang of the sauce The flavours were all there and everything was extremely well cooked.

4. Lamb from LUXE

I don't have a picture for the next two courses unfortunately because I was so immersed in the meal. So for this dish from LUXE it was lamb done five different ways. So there was rack of lamb, sweetbreads, bacon, smoked tongue, and ....... can't remember. There were also many garnishes on the plate to compliment the numerous different forms of lamb which were all great. However, the two true standouts of the dish were the sweetbreads and the bacon. The sweetbreads were impeccably cooked and seasoned and just had that wonderful texture with the flavour strength of lamb. The bacon was awesome it tasted not much like other bacon I have had in the past, and was extremely cool to see. Overall the dish was a success.

5. Dessert
I don't like cake, and it was cake. The dark chocolate passionate fruit was good. However, I really don't like cake so I feel bad.

The dinner was a resounding success it was a great combination of good friends (although new!) and great food. It was extremely interesting watching those not in the industry taste the food and make comments and interact with the chefs. I knew a couple of the chefs there so it was a bit different for me, so it was truly interesting watching the general public swoon which they rightfully should have. I enjoyed the night whole heartedly and recommend that everyone do it. These kinda of events are extremely important for the culinary development of Ottawa. We need these events to stimulate the chef as not just a restaurant but also as a personality as well. IT is important that we start viewing ourselves as a community rather than a hogsmash of different restaurants.

p.s look out GMP 2011 and sorry for the rushed feel of the post I did it before work. Shoot me some questions about the meal and I'll be happy to answer.

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