Our host for the dinner mas Fernandito Haka informed days before that Foie Gras is one of Chef Mandif's favourite ingredient to play with, therefore it's quite interesting to find it as our next dish, and witnessing what he's transformed it into. Instead of the usual savoury Foie Gras, Teatro Gastroteque's version was involving jams, and candies.
"It's best to put a little bit of everything in each bite to experience the perfect balance" chef Mandif informed, and so I did. The candied tomato and almond indeed, compliments well the silky smooth, creamy tad salty flavour the Terrine Foie Gras has.
The next dish was quite striking in its look, beautifully combines the fresh colours of its ingredients into an artwork. Chef Mandif explained that it's a mango wrapped around the Papuan crab meat, with drops of lime gel. "I also put some walnut chunks inside to adds a little bit of crunchiness to the dish, therefore balancing the softness of the two other ingredients." He mentioned before disappearing back into the kitchen.
Taste wise the combination of savoury umami slightly metallic taste Papuan crab, the sweet mango and the creamy avocado has made this dish felt like a cheerful dessert-ish starter.
Earlier before this next dish came, Chef Mandif brought to the table what looks like a very finely marbled wagyu, that turned out to be a tuna belly. "It's from the Sulawesi seas where the best specimens like this are usually sold directly to Japan. I was only able to get it after one day finding out that one of the exporters was dining here in Teatro" he smiled.
Barely cooking it to retain its original flavours, the toro was smeared with squid ink then lightly seared on the outside while keeping the inside raw, unleashing the very robust, creamy and umami mouth feel. Combined with the roasted sweet leeks, the tad bitter antanan and the slightly acidic cucumber, it was simply the best tuna I have tasted in a long while.
Our palate cleanser next came to the table in form of a nugget of ice, accompanied by lots of transparent foam. Put inside your mouth, interestingly the foam has a hint of ginger, which adds a little dash of heat into the sour mango Trou Normand.
One of Chef Mandif's crew then brought another chunk of meat into the table; it was rather dull coloured, and it's quite old indeed; three weeks old. That's how long the meat was dry aged to intensifies the flavour, and let the enzyme breaks down the meat tissue, resulting in a tender meat texture.
I chose mine at medium, to get that caramelized flavour on the outside, while leaving the centre moist and raw enough. The aged beef steak are then paired with creamy nutty celeriac mash, eringy mushroom, and the savory sweet a little tart port wine sauce for a rounder taste. The result? As much as I loved my tuna, this aged beef is the definite champion of that night's dinner.
Following that rustic beef, we're taken back to the Asian experience, a very Indonesian one to be exact, in form of Lobster curry with Padang's style Jackfruit curry, seared king scallop, and... perkedel jagung! After the rempeyek and the cassava, this is another cool creation from Chef Mandif that plays around traditional Indonesian food taste. The perkedel itself was of extraordinary sweetness and freshness, and interestingly was made without flour, relying more on special technique to attach the kernels together.