Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bison & Reindeer @ Bistro a Table

"Siberia: Mystery Meats" was this month's degustation dinner theme at Bistro a Table, which was transformed into an enchanting showcase of ice sculptures of penguins, dolphins and rabbits while the air-conditioning was set to full blast.

Customers parking outside witnessed young, placard-waving protesters hollering "Save a cow, eat a vegan!" Turns out that Chef Isadora hired them to furnish a dramatic flourish. Thankfully, police failed to rush here to tear-gas them.

Two starters to break the ice before the "Mystery Meats" portion of the meal. Massive enough to be a main course for light eaters, here's house-smoked salmon topped with avruga caviar and scallop "bombe," a plump sphere of yolk-oozing mollusk.

More scallops, this time as a ceviche with duck foie gras and soy mirin vinaigrette. The warm, coarsely seared liver played very interestingly off the cool, smooth slices of scallop.

Finally, Mystery Meats! For a contest with bottles of wine for the victors, we were instructed to guess what each meat was, with the answers revealed at the end of the night. Our table thought this first one might be quail or partridge, but it was guinea fowl, marinated in 50-year-old cognac for a remarkable richness.

Our guess: guinea fowl (so close!) or emu. The reality: pheasant, prepared torchon-style, with fennel and peaches and a "potato flower." Tasted like a cross between roast pork and duck, with lovably crisp skin and lusciously fleshy-fatty meat.

Our guess: mouse-deer or kangaroo. The reality: horse meat, imported from Italy, served as a tangy, blood-soaked tartare.

Our guess: camel or mountain goat. The reality: bison from Alaska, coffee-glazed and served with purple Japanese corn. Succulent, while still offering an enjoyably solid chew, with a dark, deep flavor that sets it apart from beef.

Our guess: squirrel or possum. The reality: reindeer from Canada, with chocolate juice and creamy savoy cabbage as a coleslaw. Turns out, Rudolph kinda tastes like a cross between lamb and liver, with musky undertones.

Raspberry and sheep yogurt ripple, for a creamy finish to a memorable meal.

Russian Beluga Gold Line vodka, to kick off the evening.

Courses were paired with wines from around the world, including Switzerland, Japan and India. But in the end, no participant of these reindeer games managed to win any wine.

The Holy Rabbit incarnated in icy flesh!

Bistro a Table,
Section 17, Petaling Jaya.
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28 comments:

  1. the rabbit is melting

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    1. Edi: hahah, yeah, you're right, everything was melting, but very, very slowly =)

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  2. I don't think the tear gas will come even though someone lodges a report. The restaurant is not so silly to come up with an easy-to-guess dish for the participants, which is why no-one won the wine bottles. =D

    But the ripple sure looks tasty!

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    1. Waverly: heheh, yeah, i was kidding about the tear gas. the restaurant informed its neighbors about the 'protesters' and got permission for them to be out there for about an hour :D yeah, i wouldn't have guessed reindeer! and i thought of pheasant and bison, but i dismissed the idea and didn't write them down (i'd have gotten them in the wrong order anyway and i still wouldn't have won anything, heh) =)

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  3. i wanna eat horse too.

    chocolate with reindeer is actually a really good combo. tastes a little like foie gras

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    1. Michelle: there's horse meat sashimi sometimes available in one or two japanese restaurants in KL, like ozeki tokyo on jalan p ramlee :D heheh, that's an interesting way of describing the combo. ya, the flavors are quite difficult to pinpoint accurately. a little bit beefy, a little bit lamby, and a whole bunch of other things :D

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  4. HAHA interesting way to have a meal!! though.. I'd be extreme upset if I found out that I ate horse meat! they're too beautiful :)

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    1. Vien: yeah, there were several other customers that evening who weren't quite pleased about having eaten horse meat either! yeah, they're noble creatures, though on the other hand, eating horse meat is apparently relatively well-accepted in various countries like italy, mexico and argentina :D

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  5. Gosh I don't think guinea fowl would ever cross my mind! Really interesting to try so many different types of meats, though I'm not sure if I could stomach the horse meat..haha

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    1. Drops Of Contentment: heh, i guess i felt safe cos she assured us that there would be no endangered meat, of course. and for any muslim customers, the assurance of no pork or wild boar, etc. so everything else was pretty much fair game =)

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  6. I love the idea of guessing each meat. So fun!
    I haven't got a chance to try their degustation menu yet. It happens every Mon right?

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    1. Smitten by Food: oh yeah, all the degustation dinners here so far have been fun and memorable :D they're only once a month though. usually the first or second monday of each month =)

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  7. I dont think I would have guessed correctly either... dont know how half of them taste like! Too exotic ;P

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    1. Baby sumo: true, it's hard to have a point of reference to guess correctly when we haven't tried these meats before. But we could guess roughly what type of animal they were ... For example, the second one was sure to be some sort of fowl, since its skin was similar to chicken and duck :D

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  8. horse meat...
    i tried once when I was in japan.. meat is tender..
    my friends told me after I finishd the meal....

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    1. Simple Person: heh, sounds like you enjoyed it =) ya, I tried horse meat sashimi at two or three Japanese restaurants in kl. had a strong flavor with a nice texture...

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  9. Wow.. It amazes me how she can come up with such eccentric ideas every month!
    Annd her sources! Where and how she managed to get all taht in!

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    1. TNG: yeah, every month is worth looking forward to here! and the dinners are quite huge. you have to be so hungry, you could literally eat a horse! heh :D i think she imported the meat this month from special suppliers =)

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  10. Out of all those mystery meats, I think I only tried guinea fowl before, and I don't think I can recognize that either, lol.

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    1. CK: heheh, it was quite difficult to recognize here, since it was soaked in alcohol already, and the flavor and texture had changed. it tasted a bit like duck, heh :D

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  11. need to save me some moneh to go there!

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    1. KY: sedikit-sedikit, lama-lama jadi bukit! =)

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  12. Oh no, not horse meat! How can one eat horse - they are beautiful majestic horses, bred for racing... surely not as food?!

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    1. Pureglutton: oh, ya, it turns out that there are quite a number of countries in asia and europe and south america that also breed horses for food. but ya, i'd still think of horses more as majestic galloping creatures...

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  13. Everything sounds fine to me except horse meat. That's gonna take a lot of guts for me to eat. I can imagine eating them and going for my horse ride next. Hmmm I would skip this dish:-(

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    1. Missyblurkit: true, this meal is definitely unsuitable for quite a number of folks, since there are quite a lot of horse-lovers out there!

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  14. (7 year old Timmy's parents going through a divorce)
    In little Timmy's class one day, the teacher was trying to get the little kids to experience different foods so she played this game with them; blindfolded the class and brought out little morsels of food for them to try....the first one, they go...yum, that's easy that's chocolate! Next one, delicious that's ice cream! Shouted the class. Then it gets progressively harder as they tried different types of meat....bacon, chicken, then the teacher brought out venison...she says...now this is a difficult one to guess so I will give you a clue...it's what your mummy calls your daddy! Little Timmy went Phooey! Spat out his food and went, "that's disgusting! Arsehole!"
    Thought I would share this joke as I was reading your article....for those of us just drool over your gastronomic adventures!

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    1. Maureen: thank you for the joke. it wasn't quite what i had expected, but i definitely enjoyed it =)

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