French Indonesian Cuisine by Chris Salan @ Number 8 Restaurant and Wine Bar

Another company lunch…this time around was at Number 8 Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Crown. In conjunction with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Crown is having celebrity chefs under the theme “Stars of Spice” from March 8-14, 2011.

My colleague who organized this lunch told me that we’ll be having a special 4 Courses Degustation Menu ($60 per person) arranged by the celebrity chef, Chris Salan. Normally, the degustation menu is only available during dinner.  However, the restaurant offered  us as we have a large crowd, and its the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

“Chef Salan is widely regarded as one of Indonesia’s most innovative and contemporary chefs. As Bali’s most revered chef, Salans is best known for his clever and creative ways of incorporating native ingredients into his modern Balinese cuisine. We’ll be sampling his range of French inspired Balinese dishes.” – from Crown’s “Stars of Spices” leaflet.

I actually asked our server to have a copy of the menu so I can put it up here.  She told me that she’ll have it signed by Salan and will send it to my office after March 14. (I’m still waiting…)

Let’s start sampling…we were presented with a plate of the major ingredients used for the upcoming dishes. There were curry leaves, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, mango, lime, and a couple more … Feels like you were being tested and required to shout out these ingredients during tasting … luckily we were given heads-up with these raw spices.

Again, as I do not have a chance to look at the menu and also still waiting for a copy, I’ll briefly describe the taste from the other end of the table! First dish, the appetizer, was slices of wagyu beef in light curry oil, pieces of wild mushroom and sprinkle of chopped spring onion. It was a unique taste – wagyu and curry oil plus mushroom – tasty, especially the generously marbled wagyu.  In the middle was some dome shaped ‘foam’, – interesting …  can’t figure out what it was but it had some spice in it as well.

Second dish was salmon with a unique cream topped with dill. The salmon looked raw but when you eat it, it  was actually cooked perfectly. Very good presentation – this explained why I forgot to take a photo before attacking it! This dish is very light, I reckoned it’s to cleanse your palate prior to the main. I was having a white wine with this – matched well!

The third dish was the main – lamb, cooked medium, with a few combination of spices. He definitely  included curry leaves again, and ginger to make the sauce. At the side is some bread crumbs with pepper seed and sugar -slight spicy. Our server recommended us to combine all the ingredients on this dish with the lamb to get the maximum taste that Salan wanted us to experience. This indeed was very tasty, by mixing everything with the lamb,  coupled with a glass of red wine. Your mind tells you its really good while your tongue is trying to decipher the ingredients or spices used. This was hard work buddy!!!

Lastly, desert came with a chocolate mousse topped with chocolate twirls and basil leaves. At the side is some walnut and pickled  kumquats at the corners. Desert was refreshing. I forgot to mention about the ‘foam’ on top of the mousse – its not interesting anymore to have this stuff the second time. Most of us gave nasty comments on this ‘foam’ – won’t be sharing it here with the food!!!

In summary, food and service were good. The ambiance was great – not too noisy although the restaurant was packed that afternoon, and I’m still waiting for my signed menu from Number 8 …

I told Ms. L. that I’ll take her to Number 8, maybe I could request for the signed menu …

(Note: Low quality photos, taken discretely with mobile)

Number 8 Restaurant and Wine Bar
Riverside at Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex,
Southbank, 3066 Victoria,
Australia.
61-3-9292-5777
www.number8atcrown.com.au

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