Feb 14, 2012

Michelin Super Star in Abu Dhabi

Chef Jean-Francious Piege is the Chef at one of the hottest new restaurants in Paris, Thoumieux.  He was trained under the well known Chef Alain Ducasse, essence of the celebrity haute chef.  Chef Alain is no stranger to the Michelin star galaxy and introduced his colleague, Chef Jean-Francious to the gastronomical heights he is so used to.  Chef Jean-Francious quickly gained his own Michelin star status at this new Parisian Hot Spot and is now introducing a taste of his unique cuisine, a combination of molecular gastronomy and beauty, to the Gourmet Abu Dhabi scene. 

Time for the culinary adventure to begin!  We opted for the five course tasting menu, I felt it was the best way to understand the skill of the chef through the variety and technique used in his cuisine.  Our first item was the "Duck Foie gras from "Lande" region served with a citrus jelly"(Left).  It was nicely seasoned, but could have used a touch more of the citrus jelly.  Nothing makes me happier than that balance of savory and sweet matched with the velvety texture of this gourmet pate.

This was then followed by "The perfect egg emulsion of spinach gratin, black truffle" (Right).  The spinach gratin was almost souffle like, and technically cooked very well with a light touch of cheese.  The Truffle topping was elegant and simple, and enhanced the presentation as well as the flavor of this dish.  The egg which was on the bottom of the martini glass, was a bit runny for my liking, but it was a combination of flavors and textures I had never experienced before   That's two down, three more to go!
 Next we enjoyed this Ravioli of Blue Lobster, Ginger Bouillon and Coconut (Left).  It was a delightfully delicate combination of all my favorite ingredients in one dish.  The coconut and ginger broth was sprinkled with fresh robust coriander and radish.  The peppery sharpness of the radish also added a bit of texture to the other soft flavors.  This dish got high marks in my formal review of the chef.

Course number four was a "Fillet of John Dory with gingered carrot, ciboulail*, and caramelized pearl onion"  This was another beautifully prepared and presented dish.  The crispy and sweet gingered carrot provided the right amount of crunch beside the caramelized pearl onion.  The Fillet of John Dory was slightly overcooked, but still tasted great with the flavorful accompaniments and aroma of the unusual combination of ingredients. 

*AKA: Chinese chives, garlic flowers, garlic chives, or the onion of China
 At this point it was difficult to believe there would be another course.....but there was...plus dessert! Below is a "Slowly cooked milk fed veal rump, tuna condiment, lemon and parmesan".  The veal rump was cooked to a medium temperature and presented in medallion form.  It was tender and juicy and worked well the potato puree topped with blue potato chips.  The tuna condiment however was less exciting for the palette.  It was an interesting blend of ingredients, which in theory should balance, but it just didn't deliver.  The parmesan and lemon could have worked well, but the cheese was too sharp.  It needed to be balanced with something less fishy and more neutral. 
 The chocolate hazelnut cake (Right) was not that inspiring by first glance on the menu but when it arrived, I snapped my camera away at the gorgeous presentation, gold flecked and all.  The Frozen Vacherin Banana and Lime was elegantly presented in this meringue cage.  An interesting spin on the classic Vacherin dessert usually consisting of layers of meringue with a creamy filling; its name derives from its resemblance to the rich, round French and Swiss cheeses of the same name

 As part of Gourmet Abu Dhabi, I have had the pleasure to interview and meet some of the best chefs from around the world.  It was an honor to meet one of France's finest chefs this afternoon, and an even bigger honor to taste his one of a kind delicacies.  I guess next time I am in Paris i will have to swing by the HOT SPOT, but apparently there is a 2 week waiting period before one can get a booking.....

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