A transatlantic voyage of international bistronomy
8th November 2013
Oh what a night, it was definitely a ‘transatlantic voyage’ as the menu had described. Tonight’s Chateau Marmot temporary dining experience was created and exacted by the talented Laurent Quenioux (LQ) and entourage flown in from LA. The location was a minimalist warehouse in deepest darkest Shadwell, sharing a clandestine back street with The Times newspaper HQ, Pennington Street.
The six course menu (£49) was a circle navigation of the globe, one could say fusion cooking, but as LQ calls it ‘international bistronomy’. I especially like the fact he had taken heed to ensure ingredients were seasonal showcasing root vegetables, venison, chestnut, and persimmon, to name a few.
Rosana was my dining partner, we both settled upon the Butlers ‘75 (£10) as an aperitif to kick off the evening. It was a heady little number, fizzing with both champagne and small batch gin, aiding our bubbly conversation for the rest of the night. To accompany the rest of the courses, we shared a taste of the 125ml glass wine flights on offer: The Marmot (£26) and the Haute Marmot (£36), giving us a chance to compare and contrast the matches and see what worked best.
Course 1: A refreshing dish, with hints of spice from chipotle, cleansing guacamole and delicately soft razor clams.
Course 2: I’d never had venison rare before, the addition of the raw quails egg was a great binding agent but didn’t mask the taste. In the past when I’d tasted venison, it would have a rich gamey taste, this didn’t, it was fresh and held it’s own. I loved the yuzu, giving a real citrus zing. Wine 1: Percheron Old Vine Cinsault or Richard Rottiers Moulin a Vent
Course 3: I found the aji chile amarillo piquant against the salmon. The addition of samphire, was pleasing, not adding colour to the plate but additional seasoning, to awaken the root veg. Wine 2: Laurent – Perrier Brut NV (served for both flights)
Course 4: By breaking the soft hen’s egg, it cleverly gave extra body to the chowder. The sliver of foie gras was sufficient enough to add richness to the crispy hushpuppie. Wine 3: Macon Charney or Riva Ranch Chardonnay
Course 5: This was one of my favourite courses, down to the superb quality of the pork, my knife cut through it like butter, shredding so easily. The mash was unusual in that it was a potato -plantain combination, thankfully that was less avant-garde than had it actually been banana. Wine 4: Borsao Garnacha or Charge Rioja
Course 6: It was the first time I had tasted persimmon, it’s orange hue is so distinctive in the market stalls at the moment, so was glad to try it. The pudding slightly sweet but dense with the fruit pulp, I loved the textures of indulgent panna cotta, ice cream against the tart sticky gel. Wine 5: Williams & Humbert 12YO Oloroso or H& H Madeira
Artisanal cheese board: An expertly chosen selection of complementing European cheese. I especially loved the Livarot AOC (a first for me) and a favourite of mine, Comte AOC, it’s nuttiness blended with the tart hedgerow jelly. Wine 6: The Wolftrapp Red, SA (£7)
A lot of care, attention and expert planning went into the menu creation, ingredients sourcing and presentation of these dishes. I loved the textural contrasts, plenty of firsts for me and supreme excellence in plating to draw your eye to each and every little detail. If you see the chance to dine at CM or at an LQ event, I can’t recommend it enough. As a touring experience there’s another one in November 2013 in London and a couple in Bath in December 2013. If you’d like to attend a dining experience like this, then check out updates from Grub club and for LQ or CM specifically.
*Rosana (Hot & Chilli) was invited along for a complimentary meal to blog the experience and I took up the offer as her plus one and it’s her photos that kindly grace this blog.