An evening of offal puns and exquisite cuisine ensued at the Miele Chef's Table in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday evening this week. Appearing from the kitchen in a black bowler hat, tie and waistcoat, Portguese 'offal king' Joao Martins set a new standard in striking chef attire, complementing his charismatic presenting skills and unique approach to food.
A raw lamb's heart took pride of place on the chopping board and set the scene for an extremely entertaining and informative night. While some guests were a little apprehensive when confronted with the organ, Joao’s expertise and extensive tips in demonstrating how to transform lambs tongues into meltingly tender morsels to accompany a crisp salad of warm turnips and witloff, with a standout anchovy cream, had everyone converted by the end of the night.
Duck hearts, panfried with aromatic star anise and cinnamon and finished with large glugs of balsamic vinegar and port, were a first for everyone. They were topped with warm beetroot, hazelnuts and capers, then a final flourish of freshly grated horseradish. There were joking mutters around the table about the abundance of ducks in the domain!
Joao even managed to get a little pig in the dessert, in the form of silky egg custards enriched with a little pork back fat and topped with New Zealand-grown pinola, rosemary and mandarin zest, all sautéed in butter until golden and crisp. Comments of "I would lick the bowl if in my own kitchen" were heard from around the table.
The evening was elegantly rounded off with a wonderful selection of wines matched to each course from Nautilus Estate, including their Cuvee Brut NV, 2013 Marlborough Chardonnay and 2012 Pinot Noir.
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