dimanche 13 novembre 2011

Verjus (ex Hidden Kitchen) A must

I have read a lot about this underground restaurant called Hidden Kitchen via different food blogs and I've always been curious about learning more and eventually perhaps eating there.
Braden and Laura, the people behind this idea, came from America to open up a private supper club, where once or twice a week, they would host elaborate 10 course meals in their apartment in Paris. Globetrotters, lots of Americans, Europeans and French would share the same table and enjoy the one of the ultimate food experiences one could ever wish for.
They have been so successful, Hidden Kitchen is no more, instead they have opened their very own restaurant and wine bar not far from the Opera Garnier in Paris.

 A couple of days ago, I received an email from Laura to tell me she had two places available to eat  at Verjus, of course we eagerly accepted, and last night was the big night, and boy it was awesome and one couldn't have wished for better company.
We dined with some great people, ate the most exquisite food with perfectly paired wine.
For the amuse bouche we had a spring roll with mussels with a shot of caramelized fennel soup, what can I say, just perfect and the mussels were divine.
Next, we were served a charred sweet onion with a millet and quinoa risotto and citrus. I loved the risotto but wasn't that keen on the sweet onion, that for me, just wasn't sweet at all and hard on the palate.
The butter poached langoustine with red cabbage tortellini mint and caper was excellent overall, the langoustine tail was a little too small, but the amazing red cabbage tortellini made up for that. The texture of the red cabbage was almost meaty and a real delice.
Next up was the house smoked salmon with celery root, buckwheat, mustard and roe served with the best wine of the evening. This was one of my favourite courses, and I definitely want to try to smoke our own salmon at home.
The Veal cheek turned out to be veal shoulder served with pine nut butter, nori, salsify and fried herbs was excellent but a tad too salty, however, the pine nut butter and the fried herbs were to die for.
Ok even though it's only 9 am, this course makes me want to run back to Paris and have more, now, and lots of it.  Beer braised pork belly with white miso labne, raw beets, kimchi vinaigrette was just delectable or as Alain would say le petit Jesus en culottes de velours.
To finish with, we had a dark chocolate ganache with pineapple and rosemary (not habenero) sorbet, banana and hazelnut. I'm not a big sweet tooth and I am hard to please, and although this dessert was good (probably great for others), it just didn't do it for me, the sorbet was good and the banana and hazelnut too, but the ganache was not that dark, with a lack of intensity.
photo not taken from restaurant, I ate the whoopie pie before thinking

But  guess what, just before leaving the table, we were treated to a whoopie pie that just was so scrumptious, and we'll be making some of these today.

If there's one place in Paris I really can't wait to go back too, it's here.  And in the bar, we got to taste some Japanese whisky that was heavenly. Next time we'll try the fried chicken at the bar that's something not to be missed. 

Note;  It would have been nice to have some good butter to go with the bread, butter similar to that of Le Cinq, now that would be something.

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