If there is a reason to learn the German Language, it would be 3 words. Kafka, Kant and Wagner. The language is so exact, that there is actually a term to describe deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others. Schadenfreude. As chance would have it, by a series of unfortunate events for Unkaleong which left him hobbling due to a twisted ankle proved to be my good fortune. I have found myself a willing companion for lunch.
This is a follow up quick post on Nathalie's Gourmet Studio, which has since changed their menu for the month of August. Details of the menu is available from The Nomad Gourmand's website, www.rebeccasaw.com.
Crispy Scallop Tart with Melted Onions and Sechouan Pepper sauce. (Love the sexy French spelling of Szechuan!)
An excellent showcase of Nathalie's talent as a pastry chef, the almost phyllo like tart shell was crumbly and crunchy at the same time. The gently cooked scallops lies on a bed of caramelized onion which was totally devoid of bitterness and the divine sauce was slightly tart and citrusy. The small brown flecks from the picture above are the husks of the Szechuan pepper which imparted the sublime flavour to the sauce.
Decorated with a fresh pea flower on top, the dish is as beautiful as it was delicious.
Revised Niçoise. Rabbit food never tasted so good.
The tomatoes in this traditionally raw Southern French salad was blanched, and was served with a wobbly, yolk still runny egg on top, nestled in a bed of salmon. There was a generous amounts of Brine Cured Olives and salad greens dressed with olive oil pesto dressing. Weight watchers will marvel and delight at this beautiful salad.
Risotto Like A Paella, King Prawns, Squid and Chicken. Saffron Emulsion. Satisfying to the last grain.
This was a revelation of the playfulness and the whimsical side of Nathalie. Risotto is one of the rare dishes where Rice is the star billed item and the rest are just supporting casts to the ensemble. Risotto lovers will not be disappointed with the "al dente" consistency of the sticky Risotto Rice. The Saffron Emulsion was rich without being cloying. This was a delightful dish that screams genius.
Halibut Brandade, Fresh Herb Emulsion and Garlic Chips. The "bush" on the top is a bit too heavy, perhaps a bit of trimming is in order?
Nathalie's version of the Traditional French Brandade was cooked using Halibut instead of Salt Cod. Potato Puree was added to the Halibut and the top was seared with garlic and the whole Brandade was served with Roasted Garlic Chips and a light foamy green sauce that was redolent of Basil. The addition of Garlic to this dish is a South of France touch. I found this dish not as satisfactory because although flakes of desiccated Halibut could be discerned, the Brandade was a little bit too starchy.
Raspberry Mille-Feuille, Lytchee and Raspberry Espuma, Lytchee Sorbet. Visual treat and another sexy variant of lychee.
As usual, the Desserts here are a treat for the eyes as well as the tongue and this Trio was no exception. The Mille-Feuille was bursting with the flavours of raspberry, the Espuma foam was light and flavourful. The Lychee sorbet was marvelously herbal.
Clockwise from top left: 1. Interior 2. Unka wincing in imaginary pain (no Oscars for him), flanked by The Nomad Gourmand, his nurse. 3. The Teaching Kitchen at the cuisine studio. 4. Exterior: the yet fully constructed office/apartment complex.
As much as I would hate to derive pleasure from Unka's misfortune, I would have to say this month's menu at Nathalie's is great. Of course, the dining companion is a great guy too! If not for an unfortunate event this lunch might not have happened at all. I hope Unka enjoyed lunch as much as I did, and you do not need German to describe deriving pleasure from one's own pain. The word masochism is adequate.