As FoodMeUpScotty, Anthony Clark is one of The City's top foodie bloggers extraordinaire.
Unique. Dining. Experience. UDX. That’s what we’re chasing every time we dine out. And every now and then, something comes along to excite and tantalise the tastebuds. Whether it’s catering to a mass market or just feeling inspired to try something new, our chefs have the inspirational spark to do the amazing.
And there are plenty of chefs in Brisbane looking to shake off the shackles and try something new. Privé 249 is one of Brisbane’s few Hatted Restaurants with its white linen and fine dining silver service. Chef de Cuisine and culinary wiz Josh Okorn is responsible for producing beautiful and award winning food – certainly good enough for the recent G20’s European dignitaries. And for a visit to Privé 249, Josh presented an interesting proposition: Name the ingredients and he’d curate a special menu for the evening. This was an offer too good to refuse.
Chicken, Camel, Pigeon, Venison, Duck, Raspberry and Kiwi Fruit.
Teasing us with simple flavours, Josh kicked off the five course degustation with an amuse bouche of chestnut and mushroom duck rillets with pine nuts and a red wine reduction. A small dish packed with sweet gamey duck flavour, the rillets were sensational - tiny explosions of taste in the mouth. Beautiful? Yes, but the gold leaf pine nuts had us ‘pining’ for more. *ok, bad pun.
|WHICH CAME FIRST?|
We were unprepared for the quirky looking plate that consisted of an Asian style chicken broth, poured around a sous-vide chicken and leek, topped with a gold leaf covered egg yolk and sprinkled with roast chicken and rosemary powder. The powerful broth tasted of home cooked roast chicken and only enhanced the flavour of the sous-vide chicken. The gold leaf covered egg yolk was creamy and indulgent. We knew that the dish was our chicken course, but we wondered if the presentation style was also an ode to The Rooster - or perhaps, more succinctly, The Cock.
|DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER|
This could only have been about the pigeon; a fact confirmed when the sous vide pigeon breast was presented alongside a confit pigeon leg. Tastes and textures of pea set the tone for the dish, which also contained the raspberry element of the challenge. The expertly cooked pigeon played the role of Jekyll and Hyde with the breast, soft and subtle while the confit leg was powerfully flavoured. The combination of pea, raspberry and pigeon was superb, with the sweetness and slightly tart flavour of the raspberry thyme jus.
Our duck was easy to identify but how it would be presented was a mystery. We certainly didn’t imagine a smoked corn risotto with a beautifully rendered duck breast working with vanilla apple puree and vanilla oil. The smoky risotto provided just the right match with the sweet duck and its perfectly rendered fatty skin. With just a touch of sweetness from the vanilla and apple puree, the balance of the dish was spot on.
I’d thought the biggest challenge to our meal would have been the camel and I was right. Josh just couldn’t get the quality of camel that would satisfy his exacting requirements. But he did find Alpaca – which is part of the camel family, so I gave that round to Josh for creativity. The Alpac’n Heat was a lightly cooked strip-loin with fennel puree, sous vide fennel, pistachio mandarin puree, a rhubarb marmalade and finally a piment d’espellette. It was a busy plate of food with strong flavours and an Indian edge. The strong flavours were necessary to work with the Alpaca. Camel turns out to be a very mild meat - almost like lamb, but without the sweetness. Well then, work with what you have.
Time for a pause and the palate cleanser of thyme and apple granita with freeze dried yuzu crisp was just the ticket.
The simply titled Rudolf could only have been about the venison and my favourite dish of the night. The slow cooked venison came with valrhona manjari chocolate jus, creamy butter mash and mushrooms with cherry tomato. Exquisite. The venison was incredibly tender and full flavoured and pairing with chocolate proved this as a match made in heaven. The butter mash was good beyond words but the surprising flavours were the mushrooms, which just popped.
|JACK & THE BEAN|
So far, Josh had hit all of the ingredients but I’d not seen kiwi fruit and didn’t see how it would work in the dish Jack and the Bean. What was presented was awe inspiring in its complexity. A tonka bean chiboust was presented with blackberry honey, Jack Daniels gel and textures of kiwi fruit. I’d never had a chiboust before, but the crème patisserie of Italian meringue and gelatine was incredible. The tart kiwi leather, kiwi sugar and fresh kiwi fruit pieces married wonderfully sweet and creamy chiboust.
This was definitely a Unique Dining Experience. And with Josh on hand for each course to explain his creations, the meal was nothing short of genius.