Friday 23 January 2009

Lunch at Le Bernardin.

Le Bernardin is the only place we have been back to four years in a row and yes, it will make it onto next year's list (if there is a trip that is). Again we sat at the bar in front of our lovely bar-tender man who by now remembers us. Despite this familiarity we still do not know each others names which lends the proceedings with the little formality it needs, which is not much. We opted for the lunch deal which at $48 for three courses is a find, especially for food of this standard.
As usual we began with the smoked and fresh salmon starter which I love so much I now make as our Christmas starter.

My favourite starter of Kanpachi Tartare Topped with Wasabi Tobiko; Ginger-Coriander Emulsion had been updated (bah) so I tried something different the Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Peekytoe Crab; Black Truffle Sauce, as truffles will win me over everytime.

Although this was good, not it did not make my tastebuds sing like the kanpachi. HI had the Progressive Tasting of Kumamoto Oysters “en gelĂ©e”; From Light and Refreshing to Complex and Spicy, which to me just seemed like a big plate of oysters

but apparently there was a distinct 'progression' from one end of the plate to the other, with the preferred end being the spicy one.

For the mains, and by this time I was already getting quite full, HI has the
Crispy Black Bass; Braised Celery and Parsnip Custard; Iberico Ham-Green Peppercorn Sauce which he loved.

It is a combination we have not had before and it worked. I guess the bass is strong enough to hold the peppercorns. As usual the fish was cooked perfectly. I had the Halibut poached halibut, marinated almonds, pistachios and green olives, blood orange, verjus vinaigrette which again was cooked perfectly, and although light, provided a mouthful of taste explosions with each bite.

I am ashamed to say I could not finish it, something which distressed me greatly but I was too full.

Despite this I did what I always do and enquuired sweetly if there were any of the 'eggs' available. I reckoned it was time to engage my 'pudding stomach'! These are amazing;“Egg” Milk Chocolate Pot de Creme w/ Caramel Foam, Maple Syrup, Maldon Sea Salt

They are decadent and moreish. They are not on the menu but I have read that they make a certain number each day for 'special' guests! Last year I got one but HI did not and he was green with envy, this year fortune must have smiled on him as he got one too.

After this act of gluttony I opted for the Blood Orange and Coconut sorbet,

both of which refreshing were intense and refreshing, as expected. HI had the Yuzu yuzu parfait, meringue, green tea biscuit and ice cream

which he declared to be excellent and despite finishing it and my sorbet off, he left room for the little bundle of freshly baked madeleines

that were placed in front of us to finish off the meal and to finish me off.

Although my starter was not as stellar as usual we both still agreed this was one of our most favourite meals of the week. Most people seem to find fault with the service and atmosphere, problems which we by-pass by sitting at the bar. It's altogether more intimate without having lots of different wait-staff coming and going. I hope to go back, but I want them to bring back the wasabi kanpachi!!

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