During my trip to New York City last month I finally achieved something I've been planning for a long time - a meal at chef Wylie Dufresne's wd~50, one of the most critically acclaimed, talked-about, blogged-about and hotly debated restaurants in the world today.
Cornstarch thickener is an everyday example of a hydrocolloid; so is gelatin. The hydrocolloids chef Dufresne uses are a little more exotic - things like xanthan gum and agar-agar. An entire wall of his hi-tech kitchen is lined with little white bottles that would not look out of place in a chemistry lab.
The ingredients of the Eggs Benedict (top) and the finished dish (below). Pic courtesy New York Times
Now, to our much anticipated meal. Twelve courses eaten for over two hours in a dimly lit and relatively spare interior, at a table looking directly into the kitchen. Dishes timed perfectly, and served and explained expertly.
Pic courtesy Foodplow
Sweetbreads, rhubarb, roiboos, hazelnut
Tiny sweetbreads served with a scrape of rhubarb sauce. An amuse-bouche. Gone in 5 seconds leaving a slight tart taste in the mouth. Incidentally 'roiboos' is an African tea herb. Who knew ?
Lamb belly is the 'meat of the moment' among New York City chefs this season. It is essentially lamb bacon, rich salty and crunchy. Here it came accompanied by black chickpeas, both toasted and pureed. And the surprise wd element - 'pickled' cherry-flavoured cucumber.
Wintergreen parfait, avocado puree, chartreuse gelee, candied walnuts