Sunday, November 8, 2009

A pinnacle moment of gastronomy

So for those of you who are on facebook and saw my status would know that I promised to blog about the BEST food we have EVER eaten….well here goes….

It’s probably better described as our best all round experience in a restaurant, from the service, to the wine, to the atmosphere, the cocktails, to the 9 course degustation menu, everything was incredible and an experience that is actually a little difficult to put into words…ones that will do it justice anyway. I’m talking about the restaurant called Avante Garde where Marcos (our friend) is the head chef.

We arrived at 10pm for an aperitif before dinner – yes it was that late! Still getting used to the culturally late dinner times here, trying to get past the feeling of dozing off with my head on the table immediately after finishing my meal…anyway, the waiter, who thankfully knew some English, went through the wine list with us with some recommendations – we have never known any waiter to describe wine with such articulate detail and passion. After a couple of glasses of wine at the bar, a little dish arrived in front of us which we studied for a while to try and work out what it was, but it was definitely inviting! So we eagerly took our spoon and tried what we found out was quail egg. We’d never had quail egg before, but it was so smooth and creamy in texture and the delicacy and simplicity of the flavours were so good. It definitely wet our appetite for the remainder of the menu which was:

Salted-cured foie terrine (pate) with beetroot and red berries;

Lobster salad with "salmorejo" and melon

Monkfish with smoked aubergine puree

Vegetables tempura with 3 sauces

Dim Sum (surf n turf)

Pizza Avante Garde (Flore di latte mozzarella, iberico ham and truffle oil)

Sirloin steak with creamy mashed potatoes and wild mushrooms

Dessert - No dairy cream caramel with milk infused ice cream

The combination of flavours, the delicacy, the simplicity and the presentation of this food was an experience that we’ll never forget. Every bite was beyond delicious and honestly could not be faulted in any way – now that is a huge thing to say from two massive ‘hard to please’ food critics, when it comes to restaurants anyway. It completely blew our expectations out of the water! To top off the night, Marcos left the kitchen early to come and have after dinner drinks with us. We showered him with compliments about the food, but the question is, how do you describe to a modest chef just how good the food was in a way that he really gets it? Does he really know just how good of a chef he is? We would probably say world class! Maybe he does get it, who knows.

Another experience that won't be leaving our memory any time soon!


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