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Posts Tagged ‘fusion cuisine’

Cuisine: Peruvian, modern blend with Japanese – Nikkei cuisine.

Visit: December 2012

Price: High (this is one of the most fashionable restaurants in Buenos Aires).

Osaka has spread across America from Lima, through Santiago, Mexico DF, Saõ Paulo to Buenos Aires, where in 2012 this luxurious chain of peruvian/japanese restaurants opened its second offshoot in the fashionable district of Puerto Madero.

Bar upstairs at Osaka

Bar upstairs at Osaka

Food: Creamy and quite rich sauces accompany most of the Japanese cuisine-inspired dishes. Traditional Peruvian staples such as potato causa and ceviche got a modern revamp and some of the items were made intentionally to impress you with their unconventional presentation.

The Salmon tiradito – “Vietnamito” – is the culinary illustration of the Osaka’s enriching take on Japanese cuisine. The fish was of a great quality when we dined there, yet the sauce was just too sweet for our tastes. Imagine a raw salmon with marmelade – that is the lemon grass flavored chili jam sauce, red peppers and fish sauce on the fish. Served with grated coconut brittle it was indeed quite vietnamese in its own Osaka way.

Salmon tiradito

Salmon tiradito

I preferred more the “Nikkei” tiradito. Nikkei in this tiradito is a blend of Peruvian ingredients: lemon, cilantro and chili peppers with Japanese: shoyu and wasabi. It was more pure and simple yet delicious.

We went for the Osaka Maki roll of King crab, seared scallions, and shrimp furai splashed with au gratin king crab “chupe” on the outside. As you can see on te picture below it was all-too-much. Flavors fighting over each other rather then enhancing its tasty properties. Rich chunk of rice with creamy sauce and hardly detectable crab would be my summery of my palate’s experience from this roll.

Tasty roll at Osaka

Tasty roll at Osaka

We loved the causas at Osaka in Santiago de Chile a year ago, yet as we were slowly realizing that the Osaka at Puerto Madero was far from the excellency its sister restaurant could take pride in, so we skipped them and moved to warm dishes. Causa is based on a potato puree (Peru has over 3,000 types of potatoes) seasoned with diverse savory condiments such as garlic and rich toppings. Its name refers to a fight for the same “cause” of the peruvians.

From the warm dishes we tried the Peruvian classic of flaming scallops. The Parmesan Scallops had its own Osaka touch. Again we loved the scallop dish in Santiago, but here in Buenos Aires we were very disappointed. The scallops were just too chewy, not moist and soft as they should be. Although there is nothing to spoil about melted parmesan so that one saved the dish together with the impressive flame in the middle of the plate that the scallops are presented with. In a similar fashion are made Mariscos al Fuego, which is a seafood mix in Japanese butter, again presented on fire.

Scallops on the fire

Scallops on the fire

Atmosphere: Fashionable, dark and rather party feel like at Zuma, the globally acclaimed chain of Japanese restaurants. Dress fashionable yet do not worry about your attire too much as the Argentines are mostly casual. Upstairs there is a bar and a couple of tables so it can get a bit wild later in the evening (around midnight) and downstairs it feels a bit more like a buzzing restaurant.

Rutini Chardonnay

Rutini Chardonnay

Drinks: Pisco-based cocktails are popular as well as other mixed drinks. The wine selection is quite wide, although not overwhelming. There are many wines suitable for the restaurant’s food and a sommelier eager to recommend you something your palate desires. We went for Rutini Chardonnay 2007 from Argentina. It is made by Felipe Rutini at Bodega La Rural high in the hills of the Andes. It was oaky, rich, complex and worked perfectly with the intensely flavored food at Osaka.
Address: Juana Manso 1164, Faena Arts Center, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Contact: Tel: +(54) 11 5352 0404
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Pisco sour

Pisco sour

Cuisine: Peruvian, modern blend with Japanese – Nikkei cuisine

Visit: December 2012

Price: Medium to high (by many diners in 2012 it was “the best ceviche in Buenos Aires so it does not come cheep, yet not too crazy).

Intimate yet buzzing atmosphere in the back room

Intimate yet buzzing atmosphere in the back room

Atmosphere: Young creatives, buzzing and quite low-key considering that it is located at a fancy neighborhood hotel Palermitano. The service is off-beat but effective. Wear anything you want, although anything youthful looking would fir in the most.

Ceviche

Ceviche

Food: Ceviche is a must here and was refreshing, juicy and intense as it should be. The white fish was fresh, corn kernels crisp, onion invigorating and the lime-based “Tigre di leche” sauce the server poured over it just after laying the plate on our table was not too sour, just right to add even more zest to the dish.

From the starters we got the Spicy shrimp, that were to our taste a bit over-flavored. The shrimps were sautéed in sundried chilly, garlic and yellow pepper sauce, served on fancy spoons to slip easily into your mouth at one bite. Unless you had a mouth of a whale you ended up hardly chewing the contents of the spoon as there was almost no space to chew in your mouth. I found it easier to grab each shrimp with my chopsticks and dip it in the rich sauce if needed, but to my taste not much of it was necessary.

Spicy shrimps

Spicy shrimps

The Tiracuya Salmon tiradito (thinly sliced fish) had a perfectly delicate texture, yet it is better to share it with at least three people other wise you might end up a bit “over-salmoned”. It was served with passionfruit sauce bringing sweet and sour tone and with a crispy thin noodle-like topping, that was a bit tasteless yet fun to crunch on.

The Sipan roll looked superb, yet the super-sweet home-made teriyaki sauce made it more of a dessert rather than savory roll with shrimp, salmon tartar, cream cheese and avocado.

Sipan roll

Sipan roll

From the warm main courses we went for Seared seafood with vegetables that we saw our neighbors were having. We though that they could not finish it because of the portion being too big for them, yet, as we tasted in just a couple of moments later, it was too salty that eating it all might cause you a heart attack. The seafood was of a great quality and well cooked, just someone had to add an extra pinch of salt each time he stirred the veggies with the seafood.

Seared seafood

Seared seafood

Overall, I would come back to this restaurant as it was better than the legendary South American chain of fancy peruvian eateries Osaka, but I would order just pisco sour and all kinds of  ceviche from the menu.

Drinks: I had one of the best – if not the best – Pisco sours in my life here. Go for it as an aperitif before your dinner or sip this refreshing cocktail based on a grape spirit pisco, egg-whites, lime and sugar during your meal. Pisco sour works wonderfully with the modern peruvian dishes. Wine is an option too. Alsatian Riesling, steely Pinot Gris or even the spice-bomb of a Gewurtztraminer are my favorite choices with this type of food. Although Argentina makes some of the later as well. We got a bottle of Gewurtztraminer from Rutini and liked it, except it was a bit more sweet than we craved for, so keep it in mind.

Address: Hotel Palermitano, Uriarte 1648, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Contact: Tel:+(54) 11 4897-2100 or +(54) 11 4311-6875

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Executive chef Peter Gordon and his business partner Michael McGrath from the Providores and Tapa Room in London’s Marylebone hosted an excellent New Zealand Wine dinner this week at the groovy Village Underground in Shoredish.

I have eaten in their excellent cosy Tapa Room in London’s Marylebone many times so I was curious what can this talented chef do on a bigger scale while challenged by matching his dishes to 14 wines from his home country – New Zealand. Indeed, he managed it extremely well given the complexity of his dishes.

 

'All in one': Salmon-yuzu-pomegranate-beet-flower petals-cream cheese

 

Wines from New Zealand are becoming more popular far beyond its borders. Today, there is a great selection in Singapore, in London as well as in New York. One of the main reasons is, as Gordon said last time I interviewed him, that ‘they have evolved tremendously’. From the first success of Sauvignon Blancs to the new bombshells such as Pegasus Bay Aria Riesling (served during the dinner) inspired by German winemaking. Sweet wines like Pegasus can compete with the world’s best dessert wines.

On the evening bubbles from an independent producer Morton Estate and Cloudy Bay’s Pelorus were flowing in the patio. These sparkling wines together with oysters and the chef’s special tapas set up the mood for a night full of indulgence.

Grodon’s fusion inspired heavenly dishes were all accompanied by more or less known wines from New Zealand. which are all available at the Providores. Pairing such complex creations with wine is a heroic achievement.

Listen to Gordon’s take on fusion cuisine. Peter Gordon at Village Underground

A great idea was to have three wines for each course, so you could create your own ideal match. Many diners enjoyed this ‘artistic’ part of the dinner making them to feel privileged and almost aristocratic about such an option.

 

'New Zealand on the table'

 

From an excellent row of whites the 2008 Man O’War White Label Chardonnay was the biggest star. It was described as “quite muscular but also lean and with wonderful finesse” and I can’t agree more. It was wonderful.

With the main course in sight we moved to reds. From Pinot, through Syrah to Montepulciano. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed by any of them but the coming meal dissolved all the sorrows of disappointment.

The New Zealand farmed venison loin with Jewish horseradish and  chunky root veggie mash… (too long to write all the ingredients) was without any doubt the best piece of juicy red meat I have ever had in my meat-refined mouth.

With a 13th glass of wine the conversation intensified and as was lucky enough to share my impressions with Tim Atkin, MW and The London Times wine journalist, I have learned about his dissent with the marketing in the wine business, especially in Bordeaux. Lets hope that the evolving New World wines will challenge this and make many realize that there are plenty of affordable and excellent wines on the market. Just don’t let someone mislead you and taste it on your own palate.

A small surprise at the end to whet your appetite. Michael McGrath announced opening of the new restaurant in Covent Garden in December 2010 so the kiwi cooking is now really taking off on the London’s dining scene. Hopefully, the same is true about the wines.

More about wines from New Zealand at winesofnz.com.

My last interview and more info about the Providores and Waitaki Braids wines with Peter Gordon.

Notable wines served during the dinner:

2008 Waitaki Braids Pinot Gris Peter Gordon is a co-owner of the winery located in Central Otago; you can get wines from this range at his restaurant Providores in London for a retail price.

Style: A Pinot Grigio of New World.

Buy online: Waitaki Braids Wines

2007 Takatu Pinot Gris – its owner is a pilot of New Zealand Airlines John Forsman and his wife.

Style: Perhaps Forsman flu often to France as this wine reminds Alsace style Pinot Gris, it gained on intensity because of barrique maturation.

Buy online: Takatu Vineyard

2008 Man O’War White Label Chardonnay – the wine representative said about it: ‘It’s quite muscular but also lean and with wonderful finesse.’

Style: This male/female interaction was achieved by maturing it in both – a stainless steel and barrels.

Buy online: Wine-searcher, Man O’War Vineyards

2007 Seresin Reserve Chardonnay – at the entrance to the winery you’ll find an imprint of a hand as a “symbol of strength, getaway to the heart, tiller of the soil and the mark of the artisan’.

Style: An interplay of flowers and fruits achieving a great complexity.

Buy online: Seresin Estate, Wine-searcher

2009 Pegasus Bay Aria Riesling – the winemaker worked in Mosel region in Germany and his wine reflects this experience.

Style: A honeycomb depth balanced with a lovely minerality. Botritis has done a good job.

Buy online: For distribution all over the world look at Pegasus.com

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