As a writer, there is no feeling that hits closer to home than a constant desire to be left alone, away from the confines of requisite writing, and just let the creative juices flow. That means writing using whatever style I wish, about whatever topic I desire. I imagine this sentiment is shared by anyone who works in industries that have a creative element, including the masters in the kitchen.
How exciting must this be for the chef, was my first thought when I caught wind of Zafran's newest 'No Menu' experience. The premise is simple: you choose from a range of nine flavour profiles – from earthy and nutty, to fruity, to seafood – sit back and wait for Chef Miguel to perform his magic and surprise you with some of the most delicious tapas you will ever taste (five tapas for $498).
Among the range of tapas we sampled, a couple stood out with their truly impeccable precision in execution.
The cod fritters were delightful pockets of steaming hot, flaky and tender fish encapsulated in a crisp, golden batter.
I've always been a fan of ceviche, a more complex but less flashy member of the raw seafood family. The sea bass ceviche, with its citrusy and multi-layered flavours, was incredibly refreshing, mega fresh and retained a pleasing firmness.
On to the show stealers. The pork neck with 23-year-old Colombian rum sauce was, without a doubt, a masterpiece. Grilled until tender with a charred surface, the smoky meat had a syrupy glaze with just a hint of bitterness.
But what was truly so divine it was tear inducing (without exaggerating) was the duck breast with asparagus and chimichurri. My friend and I came to the quick conclusion that it was the best duck breast we've tasted in our lives. We assumed the meat must have been cooked sous vide considering how otherworldly tender it was. Its taste was a subtle, harmonious combination of sweet and savoury, complemented by a rich, buttery flavour without being gamy at all.
The only dish we could find fault with that night was the octopus with hummus and olive oil caviar. The octopus was cooked very soft, but we were overwhelmed by the taste of charcoal, which was far too acrid. The hummus and caviar, on the other hand, proved a good marriage.
Definitely worth a try. Chef Miguel's execution of tapas is exceptional. We also loved the element of surprise – think a Spanish version of omakase – where the chef is at free will to cook up his best dish with whatever ingredients he has at his fingertips.
LG/F, 43–55 Wyndham Street, Central, 2116 8855