Monday, December 25, 2006

10 degrees of Christmas @ Basil Alcove

This Christmas marks in a way, the trial by fire for Basil Alcove which I first visited back in September - in the culinary sense. The chef with the mischievous grin, Xander Ang has taken upon himself to deliver a 10 course Extravaganza menu. So erm....I have some photos of the dinner if you are inclined to continue reading.

Carpaccio Beef

Paving the road to the extravaganza was the carpaccio of beef with cipriani sauce topped with honey roasted figs. This was probably one of the largest servings of carpaccio I've ever had. In honesty, also the ugliest. In spite of being much thicker than how regular carpaccio normally are, it turned out to be quite appetizing and edible. The treat in this dish for me were the honey roasted figs.

Trio Mitili

In the Trio Mitili, there was a trio of half shelled New Zealand mussels accompanied by diced....greens and black olive tapanade? Mussels were succulent and fresh tasting. More than one of us at the dinner though the salty baked cheese was smile etching good and the pesto packed with a robust punch from garlic.

Borscht Asparagus e Beet Cappucino

Foam seems to be the thing these days and I do admit that I'm generally agreeable with them. This beet cappuccino came with a huge dollop of asparagus foam which I enjoyed. Reminded me just a little of a cappuccino of cauliflower which I once had at Sage. In the same capacity, they were both a vehicle of an almost ethereal creamy milkiness accented with a shade of flavour of the vegetable. The cooling foam washed down with the warm beet soup was strangely arousing.

Tacchino Lampone

Most western Christmas dinners don't get by without turkey so this I guess wasn't an exception. The Tacchino Lampone comprised of slices of pan fried turkey accompanied by a cranberry, walnut and yoghurt sauce. Easily one of the favourites for tonight.

Mezcolanza Funghi

This appears to be some kind of mushroom burger. A ménage à troi of a button and two shiitakes under pink pepper sauce. Nothing dried or canned from this.

Strawberry Sorbetto

This 6th course of the strawberry sorbet topped with homegrown mint pesto was the palate cleanser. Refreshing. Rhe citrus in sorbet helped in gearing up for the upcoming duo mains of red and white meat. Actually, I wished there was more of this to go round.

Marmellata Lamb

And this as explained by the server of tonight is the toasted lamb cutlets with whale sperm. Naw...I jest. It's an orange and cherry marmalade which was nice accompaniment to the lamb. Done somewhere between medium and medium well. I thought that it would have been great to have more of the marmalade. But I suppose with restrained portions, we were given the chance to savour the natural flavour of the lamb.

Lobster Thermidor

I generally do not have much expectations for lobsters unless I'm forking out and arm and a leg for them. In Christmas, one would undoubtedly have to top it up with a few vitals just to be sure because it's a crustacean which most of us know can get quite costly. This KGB Lobster Thermidor came across as passable, compensated by the toasted cheese. It's a KGB lobster because in the shooter on the side was an almost Molotov Kalua, Granmania and Baileys. Yes, it was flaming.

Panna Cotta

Their Panna Cotta as I understood was made with pineapple but I was quite sure that there was also coconut in there. Or maybe after a couple of beers, the subtleties of flavours were confusing to me. The texture of the panna cotta was coarse; different from what I have expected. Accompanying chocolate gravy at the bottom was a nice. In this occasion, this worked in small portions. Enough to be enjoyed, not enough to make one start to grow sick of it.

Torta Fromaggio Mango

Deconstruction as I understand of the term comes into light of two applications. Desserts and architecture. The Torta Formaggio Mango is a deconstructed mango cheese cake with warm Baileys topped with a generous portion of fresh cream.

So there you have the 10 degrees of this festive year end from Basil Alcove. As much as I can comprehend, it was likely a daunting task for a small kitchen to stretch themselves for such a menu. Doable in a expensive restaurant undoubtedly but we'll probably not see the likes of anything else similar in terms of effort and delivery based on the creativity of a small family run business here.

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