Saturday, May 19, 2007

A taste of Pisces

Piesces is a restaurant in the Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai; it is only one of 28 restaurants in the resort and my first dining experience. Below is their tasting menu.

I am treating myself as I am once again stuck in a foreign country by myself on a Saturday night. My meetings have gone well but I'm still alone for dinner and I must say that it's a bummer that we and the Middle East can't agree on when is weekend. So I'm planning to compensate by overindulcing on good food. Ten years ago I would have had a burger and hit the nightlife until I found company but I can not be bloody bothered anymore.

So here goes:

Apple wood smoked Salmon with White aspargus mousse, truffled quail egg and beluga caviar:

I'm afraid this one goes into the "trying way too hard" category. The basic problemn here is that it is a good idea let down by crap ingredients. You would need propper wild salmon to make this one work because farmed salmon is just too fatty and tasteless to carry a dish like this. That being said the mousse and quails eggs where excellent it is just that the whole thing did not work. There was beluga as well but I don't think two fish eggs really count as an ingredient so including them in the description was just a tad misleading.

Pan roasted scallop with Lobster sausage and white aspargus tarragon emulsion:

Now this was a truly inspirational dish although I'm not entirely sure why they lead off with the scallop as the main ingredients. Not that it was'nt perfectly coocked it is just that it was the lobster sausage and the sauce that made this dish. I have no idea how you make lobster sausage and not ruin the meat. They however clearly do because the sausage was as good as fresh lobster except crispy on the outside which added a je-ne-sais-pas-quais that I've never had before. The sauce was basically a liquid aspargus mousse heavily flavored with tarragon. But boy what a combination.

They also served the dish with a kiwi gewustraminer that was both excellent and very complementary to the tarragon sauce... Something to keep in mind gewustraminer and tarragon.

White grape sorbet and apple jelli as pallet clenser; very nice.

Confit of grey snapper with White aspargus risotto, king crab ravioli and lemmon beurre blanc:

I expected this dish to be way busy but in fact everything worked perfectly together. Maybe the crab was a little overwelmed but that is small change compared to a perfectly executed dish. The snapper was freesh and just right i.e. firm bust still moist. The risotto was al dente and the rather gentle taste of the aspargus very much apparent. Lemmon beurre blanc; what an idea to dump that on top of everything else but one that paid off handsomly. Possibly at the cost of drowning out the crab but this is actually a dish I"ll remember for a long time.

Pre dessert of strawberry icecream and vanilla mousse. Sounds good but because the mousse was actually made from yogurt it was great. Mmh

White chocolate mousse vanilla poached aspargus and rasberry sorbet.

Very good but I won't remember it next week


... Have to go to bed.

Sent from my Blackberry Mobile

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I spent all of last week in Dubai in meetings with bankers and other business partners. Although, the place looks like it sprung up mushroom like out of the dessert I am overall extremely impressed with the quality of what I found. I stayed at the Emirates Towers which is just about the nicest “business” hotel I’ve ever stayed at. The only hotels I’ve visited that beat the Emirates Towers on comfort and service are old style Grand Hotels such as the Oriental Bangkok and Plaza Athene in Paris. In addition to great quality the place has a buzz about it as does all of Dubai that you get in dynamic places.

There is also a huge amount of kitsch going on. Dubai is the sort of place that would really have liked the ’80 and the ’80 would have liked it back. The buildings are not built for practicality they are built to show up one neighbour. And since you and your neighbour are likely oil sheiks there are some magnificently pointless buildings going up. Same goes for the malls, which are magnificent, they are massive and every conceivable luxury brand is present as is every conceivable trendy seller of jeans and T shirts. There is simply no way that the relatively small population of Dubai shops enough to keep all of these shops going. I suspect that a lot of shops have been set up by franchisees that can afford to loose $$$ on the venture.

I also vent to the most massively kitsch ’80 party ever held. It was the launch of the Pallazzo Versage Dubai i.e. the developers where inviting potential investors for a party to draw attention to the latest luxury development in Dubai. Nothing special about that except that the MC was Cindy Crawford (still absolutely yummy although she’s a big girl) and the DJ was Boy George (also a big girl). The decorations where a mixture of commercial material for the Pallazzo and displays of Versage’s most outrageous designs in dresses. Tell me, what could possibly be more ’80 than, Versage dresses, a supermodel made rich and famous for being pretty and a coke snorting cross dresser!

In any case this is my food blog. The food in Dubai was uniformly good and in some cases great. The best meal I had was actually at a private house. We where invited to dinner at the house of some wealthy Iranians who put up a traditional Iranian meal all made in house. Unfortunately they also served copious quantities of wine so there will be no lengthy descriptions of the grub as I don’t really remember in sufficient detail. Basically, traditional Iranian food but unusually good.

I also went to a chop house, a Chinese dim sum place, a Japanese yakitory place, an Indian curry house, an Iranian restaurant and the Buddha Bar Dubai. The chop house was called The Chop House and served a perfect veal chop with some lovely pinot noir. What I call a perfect veal chop basically means caramelised on the outside and pink in the centre. They did that. All of the rest where good but not fab except the food at Buddha Bar which was much better than what you get at the original in Paris. The Buddha Bar Dubai is also much, much bigger than its Parisian parent.

I’m staying at the Mina A' Salam hotel when I go back to Dubai on Friday. It is from the same Jumeirah chain as the Emirates Towers but apparently more of a tourist destination. The hotel describes itself thus:

“Nestled on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, Mina A' Salam is the 'harbour of peace' - and gateway to Madinat Jumeirah, The Arabian Resort of Dubai. Offering a unique escape into a world rich in culture and faithful to time honoured values, Mina A' Salam is a grand boutique hotel of exquisite style”.
I am rather looking forward to this!