When word on the street is that a couple of new chefs are heading up an old favourite, you’d be crazy not to be curious. Especially when the chefs in question previously ran the kitchens of the very successful Tetsuya’s and Bridge Street Garage. I mean, what could go wrong? Described as “the unforeseen love child of South America and Asia”, the new menu looked exotic, innovative and fresh. However, looks can be deceiving and unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations.
The fit out was cool. The staff were friendly. The music was lively. But it’s just not enough. Lets face it, I came for the food and unfortunately it didn’t deliver.
As it was the official launch of the new menu we were invited to try the chefs selection of dishes. They got things going with edamame and plantain crisps with chipotle mayonnaise. If you’ve never had plantain before, they are a member of the banana family, only starchier and less sweet and they taste great deep fried. The plantain crisps themselves were pretty flavourless but smothered in the chipotle mayo they came to life. Once the crisps ran out I happily used my finger as a substitute.
Next up, tuna ceviche with cucumber, shallots, grape tomatoes and tigers milk all cupped together in a baby cos leaf. I hate to say it but I found it extremely bland. It needed something punchy but instead the combination of watery cucumber, with watery tomatoes, with watery lettuce left this dish pretty limp.
"Not EVERY fusion is a MATCH made in heaven."
Things picked up a bit with the white pepper tiger prawns. Dowsed in a gooey, sticky dressing, a hit of chilli and crisp fried lime leaves this was a dish I demolished from tip to tail. And I mean that quite literally. Next time you order cooked prawns, try eating the crunchy tail too. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Unfortunately the next few dishes are nothing to write home about. Roasted pumpkin gyoza with spinach, sweet miso and chive oil, good but nothing I haven't seen or tasted before.
The salmon and scallop tiradito ceviche with yuzu juice, char-grilled corn and radish had the potential to be a truly amazing dish but overpowered by the yuzu the beautiful, delicate seafood was lost.
I was excited to try the silken tofu in Asian leaves as I have recently been introduced to some surprisingly delicious tofu dishes and was curious to see if this one would live up to them. Sadly, it did not. Again, bland seems to be the order of the day.
Moving onto the bigger dishes my hopes were for bigger flavour and the chicken anticucho had just that. Beautifully cooked the chicken came out dressed in a spicy, adobo style sauce and the char-grilled skin added that South American kick.
Alongside the chicken sat the blue eye cod with sweet miso, lime and bamboo leaf. I'm a sucker for miso and this miso dressing had me sucking every last drop off the plate. However, the cod was over cooked and dry and no amount of miso dressing was able to save it.
Now time for the final course, my favourite course, of course. The dulce de leche brownie with chocolate ganache. Surely this is a winner? No one could put dulche de leche, brownie and chocolate in the same dessert and stuff it up? Could they? Not in the slightest. The brownie was rich and dense with chocolate and the smooth ganache added moisture and texture.
It may have been slow out of the starting blocks but we got there in the end and crossed the finish line with a chocolate covered trophy. Next time I think I'll just go back for the brownie.