Friday, May 04, 2012

Review of Pot Luck at The Test Kitchen

Luke Dale-Roberts in the Pot Luck Kitchen

1 & 2.  We started with something you might not ever use at home except in soup. Crispy Curried Celery leaves. Here they are deep fried in a tempura batter, superbly and subtly flavoured and served crisp and not at all greasy, together with another dish: shaved crisp sweet parsnip with a Madagascan black pepper salt.
These are an absolute must for crisp crazies and snackers and we want MORE, often.
3. Called a fish taco, this is a ceviche of superbly fresh yellowtail in a soy and lime marinade.
Put between two layers of crisp samoosa pastry, the fish sits on a layer of adobo, avocado, red pimento peppers and tomato, is dressed perfectly in a sauce of refried beans & topped with fresh coriander leaves.
It is deceptively simple but fresh and delicious.
4.  Fried prawns with Tom Ka Gai (chicken, coconut and lemongrass) butter with roasted chopped peanuts. One of those dishes you shout: “ Why have I never had anything this amazing before?” 
The sweet prawns and delicious creamy spiced coconut sauce, crispy onions, thin chilli slices and roasted peanuts are placed in lettuce leaves for you to add a squeeze of lime, wrap up and pop into your mouth in one explosive taste bite. Lynne declared she might never want prawns any other way.
5. Adobo marinated Chicken leg is roasted in the oven, then served on a bed of soft chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, marinated jalapeno chillies which have a hell of a kick, chorizo and then drizzled with a minted cumin yogurt dressing.
Wonderfully Spanish/Mediterranean in influence with a fillip of Mexico in the Adobo and chilli heat.
6 & 7.  Chinese style pork rib with dark beer and doenjang glaze which is a Korean fermented soya bean paste. The slow cooked rib meat falls off jellied bones, all the fat has been rendered and the dark, sweet sticky meat is dusted with sesame seeds.
Served with a Kimchi salad of finely sliced cabbage, shaved radish, bean sprouts in an unusual sauce of rice porridge and plum cordial. Very fruity and fresh and a great contrast with the sticky rich meat.
8. We had intended to stop here and then we saw what our neighbours were eating, so we had to have some. Smoked Chalmar beef fillet with black pepper and truffled café au lait sauce. The beef is first marinated in thyme, garlic and rosemary, then cooked sous vide.
Just before serving, it is well seared in a very hot pan and topped with the amazing rich truffle and coffee cream sauce.  The beef is pink inside and meltingly tender; the sauce has a small bite of lime acid added to contrast the richness of the truffle.
9. What better to go with steak but chips? Well, what about halved, deep fried baby potatoes still in their skins, with a light dusting of smoked paprika and two mayonnaises – an aoli and a ponzu.
This dish could become one of our signature favourites, like the rock shrimp at Nobu. Poor Luke may not be allowed to take this off his menu.
10. Could we leave without dessert?  Nearly. On offer were two of John’s not so favourites, tapioca and rice pudding, but the third one was tempting. Perfect Churros with Tonka bean ganache – so like chocolate it fools you - and a good dollop of stem ginger ice-cream.  
Definitely the best we have had in Cape Town. YES!
The portions are small and we shared them all and left feeling very happy and quite full, but not bloated. We drank glasses of Springfield Life from Stone and Bruwer Raats Chenin blanc. They have a good wine list, with an interesting selection of wines by the glass. Our meal came to R655 with wine and service. You must book, it is very popular and now that more people have heard about it, we think it will be even busier during the next few months. Do take friends with you, so you can get to try more things on the menu. Friends who have been before say 6 is the perfect number.
Chef Nic Wilkinson

The wine list
All photographs in this blog are ©John Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus cc 2012

No comments: