The Two Taste Buds

A Food Blog

1 note &

The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire, United Kingdom

By Greedy Financier

If you’ve been following the foodie news, you would have heard the recent announcement by Heston Blumenthal – the world renowned chef is bringing his three Michelin starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, to Melbourne next February! To mark this exciting news (and also because I promised several weeks ago), I am finally blogging about the extraordinary dining experience I had at The Fat Duck last September. From the moment my friends and I left our hotel in London for the restaurant, we knew we were in for a treat. The entire night can only be described as a surreal gastronomical journey.

The Fat Duck – Staff Waiting Outside to Greet You

After a nerve wrecking reservation process (it’s a 2 month rolling online reservation system and securing a booking can be quite difficult), 20 hours on a plane to London, and almost 2 hours of travel within London (using the London Tube, the overground and taxi), we finally arrived at The Fat Duck. Waiting outside the restaurant was a staff member who greeted us and took us to our table. Being a converted old English style house, the small restaurant was quite quaint and had a cosy home style feel.

Inside The Fat Duck

To celebrate (because it felt like a celebration!), we decided to start with a glass of Moët Rosé each. At the same time we were presented with an amuse bouche (which wasn’t on the menu so I can’t recall the name exactly) of a beetroot and goats cheese ice cream sphere.

Amuse Bouche

Next up were some aperitifs (formally defined as an alcoholic beverage that is served before a meal), however in true Heston style, these weren’t served as liquids in a glass, but rather foam was pumped out of a canister, mixed with some liquid nitrogen and extinguished by a candle – it was like watching a science experiment!

Nitro Poached Aperitifs – Vodka and Lime Sour, Campari Soda, Tequila and Grapefruit

The first real course of the night was a very pretty looking cabbage soup. The use of red cabbage gave this visually appealing deep purple colour. Sitting in the centre was a perfectly quenelled scoop of mustard ice cream – which surprisingly wasn’t overpowering and went superbly with the refreshing cabbage soup.

Red Cabbage Gazpacho – Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream

The next course was one of my favourite (of many!). I love parfait and I love truffle. So when you combine the two into one dish, you get a marriage made in heaven. There were three separate components to this dish – truffle toast (which was packed with truffle!), crayfish cream with chicken liver parfait (which was silky and divine!) and a thin film (over which a mist of oak moss scent was poured over).

Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream – Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast

Heston’s signature dish is his famous snail porridge. Although not a particularly attractive looking or sounding dish, especially with its bright green colour and use of snails, it was actually quite pleasant. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overly slimy, and I found myself relishing the meal within a few spoonfuls.

Snail Porridge – Iberico Bellota Ham, Shaved Fennel

Just when I thought I had had enough of smooth processed offal, out came a pretty piece of foie gras. A side dollop of tart gooseberry coulis helped to cut through the luscious richness of the roast foie gras, and with each mouthful, I felt like I was sinking deeper into a bed full of soft pillows.

Roast Foie Gras – Gooseberry, Confit Kombu and Crab Biscuit

The next course took us to an enchanted place – we felt like we were being entertained at a real Mad Hatter’s tea party! We were presented with a box containing edible gold ‘watch’ teabags which were to be soaked in hot water to create a broth to pour over the cutest looking egg with little mushrooms ‘growing’ out of it - resulting in a mock turtle soup. This was accompanied by delicious salmon sandwiches served on a ‘hat’ stand.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – Mock Turtle Soup, Pocket Watch and Toast Sandwich

The most highly anticipated dish of the night was up next. I had heard so much about this dish and was silently screaming in my seat when a large seashell containing an iPod was placed next to me. Listening to the sounds of waves and seagulls, we ate our beach lookalike dish which consisted of tapioca and sardine sand, seaweed and vegetable stock foam and raw kingfish belly and abalone. Believe it or not, the sounds of the sea enhanced the sea like flavour of the dish!

“Sound of the Sea” – Junmai Daiginjo Masumi Nanago, Miyasaka Brewery, Nagano Prefecture

The salmon course that followed wasn’t as theatrical as some of the previous dishes; however, it was just as scrumptious. I was worried that the inclusion of liquorice would overpower the fish, but the perfectly poached salmon tasted simply beautiful.

Salmon Poached in a Liquorice Gel – Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe

The final main course for the night was a robust lamb dish consisting of three complementary parts. The first was a plate of impeccably cooked lamb accompanied by some chunks of tasty warm cucumber. Sitting next to this on a sideboard was some pieces of delicious diced lamb with what tasted like deep fried lamb skin, and a bowl of a jelly-like substance. When combined together, this course was a flawless balance of flavours and textures.

Lamb with Cucumber – Green Pepper and Caviar Oil

To prepare us for the dessert courses, we were presented with some tea. However, this was no ordinary tea – the tea was both hot and cold, at the same time. I’m not a chemist, so don’t know how this works, however, when the tea was sipped, we experienced both hot and cold sensations!

Hot & Iced Tea

The first dessert course was in two parts. One component consisted of some mini tea flavoured ice cream cones. Supplementing this was a dessert that looked like vinyl or plastic! A plaid patterned piece of what turned out to be actually white chocolate, sat atop a wonderful mixture of clove caramelised blackberries and a crunchy assortment of nuts and pieces (I wasn’t sure what the pieces were!). It was like eating berries, cookies and cream!

Clove Caramelised Blackberries – Hojicha Tea Ice Cream Cornet

The next dessert was my favourite dish of the night. The name on the menu didn’t give much away and we weren’t sure what to expect. Then out came what looked like a hard-boiled egg sitting on top of a gold nest. At this point, we still weren’t sure what to expect. Then we cracked open the egg exposing the egg white and a runny yolk! Cautiously tasting the egg, I was completely and utterly blown away – this dessert was actually a lemon tart!! A white chocolate egg shell encompassing a cream egg white and lemon curd yolk sitting atop a gold pastry nest! It was pure genius.

Eggs in Verjus, Verjus in Egg

The next course was the start of our petit fours. A picture frame with five bottle shaped lollies adhered to the surface was placed in front of each of us. Unfortunately, the frames weren’t edible, but the little bottles were. We were instructed to taste the whiskey flavoured lollies in consecutive order, as they increased in strength as we went along. If you love whiskey, then you would adore this dish!

Whisk(e)y Wine Gums

And the final course for the night was a bag full of treats! True to the name on the menu – we literally felt like kids in a candy shop! Excitedly we opened our bags to discover four different types of lollies including aerated chocolate with mandarin jelly, coconut baccy (coconut infused with an aroma of black Cavendish tobacco), apple pie caramel with an edible wrapper and a strawberry tart in the form of a Queen of Hearts card.

“Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop”

Of the four lollies, the Queen of Hearts strawberry tart deserves a special mention. Opening our envelopes we found what appeared to be a Queen of Hearts card. Taking a bite into the card, we were pleasantly surprised – the innards contained a thin layer of pastry biscuit and jam, all coated in a film of white chocolate.

The Queen of Hearts – She Made Some Tarts…

The Fat Duck is unlike any restaurant I’ve ever been to. I was left feeling satisfied, bewildered and privileged. Every aspect, from the service to the food, was exceptional, and is truly a unique dining experience. The Fat Duck has been awarded three Michelin stars, defined as “worth a special journey” – and it certainly is worthy of a trip across the world.

The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire, United Kingdom

http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/

Lunch: Tuesday to Saturday 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Ph: +44(0) 1628 580 333

High Street

Bray

Berkshire SL62AQ

United Kingdom


View The Fat Duck in a larger map

The Fat Duck on Urbanspoon

Filed under the fat duck Heston Blumenthal Bray berkshire united kingdom molecular gastronomy unique Michelin Stars theatrical dining seashell fine dining

0 notes &

Cake Bake & Sweets Show - Ticket Giveaway!!!

Hands up - who loves dessert?!? If you’ve read our blog, you’ll know that The Two Taste Buds absolutely LOVE anything sweet, and we are super excited that Australia’s first ever Cake Bake & Sweets Show will be coming to Sydney on 21-23 March 2014!

image

This is Australia’s biggest event for ALL THINGS SWEET - whether you love to cook, bake or eat - this show is for you!

image

You can have your cake and eat it too - only at the Cake Bake & Sweets Show!

**TICKET GIVEAWAY**

To celebrate the Cake Bake & Sweets Show coming to Sydney this March, The Two Taste Buds are giving away 2 tickets to the show!

For your chance to win tickets, send us a photo of your all-time favourite dessert. It can be something you whipped up yourself, bought or simply drooled over on the net!

Please either post the photo to our Facebook page (The Two Taste Buds) or Instagram (with hashtag #thetwotastebudsdessert), or email us your photo (thetwotastebuds@gmail.com).

The most scrumptious looking photo will win!!!

Hurry, entries close this coming Saturday 15 March 2014 at Midnight AEST. The winner will be notified on Sunday 16 March 2014.

For more information, visit www.cakebakeandsweets.com

Filed under Cakebakeandsweetsshow Sydney Dessert Sweets Sweettooth AdrianoZumbo chocolate Macarons Cake Cakedecorating Haveyourcakeandeatittoo

1 note &

The Flynn, Sydney CBD

By Net Geek

The Flynn on Bligh St was kind enough to invite The Two Taste Buds along to try their new culinary offerings; a menu by hatted chef Thuong Dang, and an exclusive set of cocktail creations by Luke Reimann. Each dish we had was served with cocktail recommended by the bartender to compliment.

image

Quiet and sophisticated

image

The lively Flynn Bar just behind in full swing on a Friday afternoon

image

Candle lit goodness

Walking in from the street meant edging our way through the lively Friday post-work hustle and bustle. Deeper inside was a quiet and sophisticated dining area flanked with an extensively decked out bar.

image

Zucchini flowers with a crunch

After perusing the menu, we settled on a pair of entrees to share. The chicken liver parfait and the zucchini blossoms. I am personally a massive fan of zucchini flowers and couldn’t resist them when I saw them on the menu. The fried coating was heavy and crispy whilst the inner cheese concoction oozed out in a light and fluffy manner. Even though it was a gob full of cheese, the flavours remained light and elegant.

image

Blue Cheese cocktail ingeniously matched to the flowers

The bartender also recommended the Blue Cheese Crystal Head Vodka cocktail to compliment our zucchini flowers. This opening cocktail was the most interesting drink of the night for me; not a drink I would enjoy on its own, but one that was perfectly matched to the dish. The bitter blue cheese notes and vodka were surprisingly entertaining next to the physical cheeses of the entree. I definitely recommend this combo if you’re keen on a unique start to a meal.

image

A fun combination of flavours!

Following up, the parfait also proved to be a big winner in my mind. The dish was well portioned and left me satisfied yet craving by the end. Combining a thin layer of the parfait on the crisp bread with cornichons and a red grape provided a swirl of savoury, tangy and sweet! A sweeter cocktail complemented this fun dance of flavours well.

image

A sweeter cocktail to match the parfait. Be sure to ask the bartender for his expert pairing advice!

image

My delicious tower of lamb

The lamb was my choice of main; I was definitely enticed by the offering of eggplant puree. The thickly sliced lamb was tender and moist as hoped, and the bed of eggplant puree did not disappoint. The rustic pyramid of slices were sided by a delicate cube of potato dauphinoise. The gamey lamb was a great pair with the earthy cocoa aroma of the Rum Chocolate Manhattan.

image

The strong cocoa vibe of the cocktail matched the lamb perfectly

image

A beautifully presented fish dish

The final dish was the fish; a beautifully stacked tower of Hiramasa Kingfish, spinach, and julienned apple on a bed of carrot and ginger puree. The helping of kingfish was thick and juicy with a crispy layer of skin to boot. The sweetness of the apple contrasting with the tang of a seed mustard dressing complemented one another well, while a spicy cocktail seemed to match the zesty bed of puree.

image

The spices of this cocktail paired up well with the carrot and ginger puree of the Kingfish dish

The cocktail and food pairings were definitely the highlight of my meal. They really did add depth to the experience and offered something left of centre. The zucchini flowers paired with the blue cheese vodka cocktail was by far the most intriguing combination of the night. The chef’s new creations surpassed any expectation we had of a bar menu and really does provide a top notch dining experience in a relaxed yet sophisticated bar in the CBD. We’ll definitely be coming back for seconds!

The Flynn

http://www.theflynn.com.au/

Monday to Friday - 10am till late

(Open for private functions on Saturday and Sunday)

Ph: +61 2 9223 0037

2a Bligh Street,

Sydney

NSW 2000


View Larger Map

Filed under the flynn flynn Sydney CBD sydney cbd sophisticated dining bar

0 notes &

Ivy’s Mess Hall, London, United Kingdom

By Greedy Financier

I’ve long held this misconception that good food in London is expensive (at least in comparison to Sydney). However, I was proved wrong when I caught up with a friend in London on my latest European holiday. My friend took me to this little gem of a café by day/bar & bistro by night in the very trendy Eastern London suburb of Dalston.

Ivy’s Mess Hall – No Obvious Signage!

With no obvious signage, Ivy’s Mess Hall is easy to miss – so keep an eye out as you walk down the main strip just off Dalston Kingsland overground train station, as you definitely don’t want to miss Ivy’s!

Inside Ivy’s Mess Hall

For a Wednesday night, Ivy’s was buzzing. And after our meal, I knew why. Ivy’s has a good and cheap cocktail list, as well as some truly mouth-watering dishes, which are designed to be shared. If you’re planning on a dinner visit, I would probably call and book ahead.

Spicy Catalan Chorizo

Just a few days prior, I had been in Spain enjoying chorizo tapas. However, the chorizo at Ivy’s was far more delicious than anything I had had in Spain. The sliced sausage was sitting in a lovely spicy sauce which we soaked up with the side of crusty bread.

Cheese Platter

The cheese platter was a generous serving of various hard and soft cheeses, accompanied by some crusty bread and olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip. The cheese was further complemented by a colourful assortment of shaved zucchini (or as the English say, courgette), sliced tomatoes and sweet figs.

Pork Sliders

I love sliders - there’s something enticing about mini burgers. And let me just say, Ivy’s pork sliders certainly did not disappoint. The pulled pork was tender and bursting with flavour – thanks to several hours of slow cooking and a closely guarded secret family recipe.

Fig, Prosciutto and Mint Bruschetta

A twist on the traditional Italian favourite in more than one way, Ivy’s bruschetta combined salty prosciutto with sweet fig, atop grilled bread. Garnished with mint and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this was a combination that was simply scrumptious.

Beetroot Gnocchi

And my favourite dish of the night had to be the beetroot gnocchi. This was the last serving of gnocchi available and had been especially set aside for us, as my friend happened to know the owner-chef. The chef had spent several hours that day kneading and rolling out the gnocchi which was pillowy soft, and just melted in my mouth with the delectable creamy sauce.

Latte

Dinner at Ivy’s left me wanting more, and so I decided to pay another visit the following morning. The coffee at Ivy’s is supposedly one of the best in London, and having travelled for nearly five weeks through Europe drinking essentially ‘garbage water’ coffee, I was relieved to finally have a decent coffee by Australian standards!

Eggs Benedict

My friend said I couldn’t go past the eggs benedict for breakfast/brunch. Encompassing two thick slices of grilled crusty bread, two beautifully poached gooey eggs, plenty of ham and perfectly balanced hollandaise sauce – it was an extremely satisfying start to the day.

Blueberry Cakes

Just as we were finishing up our meals, I saw two freshly baked log cakes come out of the kitchen. Having an insatiable sweet tooth, I couldn’t resist having a slice. The cake was super moist and had just the right amount of sweetness, aided by the fresh blueberries and icing drizzle.

Blueberry Cake – a slice dissected!

A place like Ivy’s would be packed out in Sydney with queues running down the street. It’s relatively cheap (in comparison to the same quality in Sydney) and has a fantastic atmosphere. All the raw ingredients are sourced from only the best (apparently the tomatoes are imported from Italy which sounds a world away, but when you’re in London, Italy is not that far away!), the recipes all have a story, and most importantly, everything is cooked with love.

Ivy’s Mess Hall, London, United Kingdom

Monday to Thursday 8.00am – 10.00pm

Friday 8.00am – Midnight

Saturday 9.00am – Midnight

Sunday 9.00am – 5.00pm

Ph: +44(0)20 7254 8006

129 Kingsland High Street

London E8 2PB

United Kingdom


View Larger Map

0 notes &

Vapiano, Sydney CBD

By Net Geek,

There was a lot of hype around the opening of Vapiano; an Italian restaurant on the corner of King and York in the CBD. My good friend who lived in Brisbane was especially excited; as this was one of the places he loved to it when he lived there. Naturally, a trip to checkout the Sydney store’s offerings was in order.

Minimal

… Yet warm!

As I entered Vapiano for the first time, the space really did strike me as unique when it came to city dining experiences. High ceilings, open plan, clean and minimal were words that sprung to mind. The main seating space contains much plant life and wooden textures, giving off a very fresh vibe. I also love the stained glass style windows which are a throwback to the Grace hotel building under which it resides. Upstairs there is a dimly lit more intimate seating with beautiful and personal mushroom table lighting. There is a different table for every group personality.

You can see everything!

That being said, the most interesting point of Vapiano is the open kitchen. You place your order at once of the various stations (Pizza, pasta and salad) and watch the magic happen. Our master chef made casual banter with us while tossing together our meal in front of our eyes; every now and then pausing to ask questions like “Do you like garlic?”. A new and enjoyable experience in a restaurant!

Creamy town with extra ‘shrooms! Yum!

With the choice of a sauce and a pasta type, I ended up with Carbonara and Tagliatelle. I got upsold to have extra mushrooms for a dollar; because #yolo! The pasta really is something different. Straight out of the boiler and on to your plate! The moistness is through the roof and it has a definite chew to it (although I wouldn’t really say it was overly aldente). I’ve come to assume that is what pasta tastes like when it goes straight from the cooker and on to your plate. I personally was a massive fan, and thought it went great with the creamy and bacon-ey goodness of my sauce.

Colours!

My dining buddy had the Gamberi E Spinaci, spinach and prawns in a creamy sauce, with spaghetti. He, on the other hand, was not a big fan of the chewiness of the pasta, but was definitely a fan of the rich sauces.

Thin and crispy base

To accompany our pasta, we shared a mushroom and ham pizza which filled the gaps in our stomachs. The base was thin and light with a crispy layer on the bottom. Great for sharing amongst a group.

Refreshing home-style lemonade! Nicely presented too!

The restaurant also sports a bar which usually has a home made drink of some kind on offer. This afternoon it was a home made lemonade, whilst the last time I got a special twist on a traditional Pimm’s cocktail.

A tasteful bar with drinkies and desserts

A creamy tiramisu-esque mouse to top things off!

Vapiano is a beautiful experience and breathes a breath of fresh air into the average lunch or dinner experience in the CBD without breaking the bank. Great interior and seating, a sophisticated vibe combined with value for money have meant I’ve been here 3 times in the past month and I don’t plan on stopping!

 

Vapiano

http://vapiano.com.au/

Open from 11am daily

Closes 11pm Sunday - Thursday, and midnight Friday - Saturday

Ph: +61 2 9953 5515

Corner of King St and York St

Sydney

NSW 2000


View Larger Map