Tetsuya’s

10 Feb

Tetsuya’s is a restaurant that I have been hearing about for years and that I have wanted to visit for the last ten.  It has been regularly voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants and until recently was a three hat restaurant and is now a two hat restaurant. Restaurants in Australia are rated by the number of hats that they get, with the best getting three hats.  Even many good restaurants may only get one hat.

All that is served at Tetsuya’s is a ten course degustation menu, adapted to allow for anything that you don’t eat and any allergies that you may have.

We arrived just after 7 pm on a rainy Friday. We were asked about allergies and anything else that we don’t eat. Having just been through Thailand, I was quick to say “tripe”, upon which our hostess laughed and said that there would be no chance of being served that.

Once we set of on our food trip, the sommelier, Simon Curkovic (Sommelier of the year 2008, http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/sommelier_of_the_year_2008_simon_curkovic_catalina_rose_bay_nsw.htm), came over to offer us the matched wines. We decided to make our own way, with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perginon. Interestingly, Greg had rowed with Simon for 6 months as a student and won a NSW state rowing championship with him. However, they did that “guy thing” of pretending not to know each other for the whole evening and then remember slowly (yet in incredibly precise detail) when and where they had rowed together.

Anyway, let’s get on to the food….

We started with the Chilled pea soup with dark chocolate mousse.  The soup was refreshing and could have been served hot or cold. The mousse tasted like a small block of dark chocolate oddly dropped into the soup and seemed superfluous.

Chilled pea soup

Chilled pea soup

 

Savoury egg custard with Avruga

The custard was a typical Japanese stock base custard which was more flavourful than creamy but with a very good, wobbly texture and topped with Avruga caviar.

Savoury Custard with Avruga

Savoury Custard with Avruga

 

Salad of the Sea

This included cuttlefish, dory, ocean trout, pomelo segments and lime tapioca pearls, which dissolved in little bursts of citrus in the mouth.

Salad of the Sea

Salad of the Sea

 

Moreton bay Bugtail with braised Witlof

This was my favourite fish dish of the night.  There was a delicious sweet and sour taste to this dish through the soy-caramel sauce and orange reduction.  The witlof had a slightly bitter taste like chicory, which was nicely tempered by the caviar cream.  The cream was seasoned with parmesan which was a well played counterpoint to the distinct flavours of the rest of the dish.

Moreton bay bug-tail

Moreton bay bug-tail

 

Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with Fennel and pasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar

Finally we arrived at this, Tetsuya’s signature dish, which was Greg’s favourite dish of the evening.  The Ocean Trout had been vacuum packed with assorted aromatics and slow-cooked in a water bath at a low temperature (around 60-65C, I would guess). This gave the fish a texture somewhere between sushi and a true confit, where the confited protein (often duck legs) is cooked gently (around 80-90 C) under duck fat for hours.  The trout was then covered in a crispy dust of konbu (Japanese seaweed) soaked in soy and then crisped and crushed with toasted coriander seeds.  This was interesting and gave the fish a hint of the Indian sub-continent.

 

Our final seafood course was baby New Zealand Snapper with soy butter and nameko mushrooms, this was a light fish dish, served with tangy shiso leaf, often described as Japanese mint.

Confit of Ocean Trout

New Zealand Baby Snapper

 

My least favourite dish of the night was poached spatchcock with asparagus and morels.  I generally dislike poultry dishes which are done at low temperature as often they have a fairly “raw” or “uncooked” texture.  This was certainly the case here and distracted from what may have been delicious accompaniments.

Poached Spatchcock

Poached Spatchcock

 

The fish and chicken dishes were accompanied by 2010 and then 2004 Pierro Chardonnay, from Western Australia.  The extra age on the 2004 was definitely noticeable with greater smoothness and blending of flavours.  Like me, Simon agreed that a good rich full bodied win like this could best be drunk at a slightly warmer temperature than lighter whites (say 11 to 12 C, rather than 9 or 10C).  The first bottle would have been better at the lower temperature though.

 

The final meat dish was Lamb Backstrap with Summer Vegetables and Sheep’s Yoghurt, which was accompanied by complimentary glasses of 2010 Wantirna Estate (Yarra Valley) Cabernet Merlot Blend.

Lamb backstrap

Lamb backstrap

 

Desserts, while good were somewhat low technique and disappointing.  There were two sorbets (really?  Does my palate need that much cleansing or are these just easy to do?)….

Green Apple and Mint Ice Cream with Basil Jelly

Green Apple and Mint Ice Cream with Basil Jelly

 

…. followed by Floating islands with Praline and Crème Anglaise (hazelnut and vanilla egg custards).  Floating islands are poached meringues classically served with anglaise as was done here and seem to be enjoying a renaissance lately.  Personally I missed the texture variation that a real meringue, or even toasted caramelised hazelnuts, would have added.  This dish while it tasted fine was textureless.

Floating Island with Praline and Creme Anglaise

Floating Island with Praline and Creme Anglaise

Fed and watered, we stumbled home.

4 Responses to “Tetsuya’s”

  1. Simone D February 11, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    We certainly stumbled out especially since it was so drawn out we ended drinking an extra bottle which was a lot even for us….

    • ncma69 February 11, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Geez, man Simone! You are “bussin'” my files! Yes, I was too embarrassed to mention the dessert wine but anyone counting the bottle to head ratio would realise how far gone we were. The service was appallingly slow, taking almost 5 hours in all. Now I know I am greedy but 5 hours? Seriously?

  2. Philip February 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Sounded so elegant until I read these comments! Sounded like you had fun though! 🙂

    • ncma69 February 26, 2013 at 4:40 am #

      Tetsuya’s was truly fabulous – despite the food coming slowly out of the kitchen, the staff was quite a lot of fun, including Simon, the Sommelier, who had to put up with a lot of flirting from Greg and Simone…..

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