Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cheong Liew at The Grange, Adelaide Hilton

Four Dances of the Sea
I am happy to have had the privilege, and certainly the pleasure, of enjoying the fine cuisine of one of Australia's greatest chefs, Cheong Liew, before he went into retirement.

After 3 weeks of travelling around the country for work, I finally got to sit down to his 8 course Migration of Ideas menu (out of my own pocket, of course!).

His signature and legendary Four Dances of the Sea, to be eaten in a clockwise fashion, was absolutely superb, with a gradual progression in flavours and textures, although the octopus didn't agree with the viognier (I've always found that octopus leaves a strange taste in the mouth when you wash it down with white wine).  Feast your eyes, because that's all that can be done nowadays.

The essential table setting ...
My favourite though was the 3rd course - snook sausage, completely made out of the fish itself - even the skin!  And the accompanying wine accompanied my new-found enjoyment of good chablis (which I previously thought was just a French version of the often flabby and oily Australian chardonnay).

And sea cucumber!! Love the texture - a juxtaposition of chewy, crunchy and jelly all in the one mouthful.

What's more, which other restaurant in Australia has the cojones to serve Epoisses on the cheese platter?  To date, Cheong Liew is the only one I've come across.  Ahh my favourite cheese ever (banned on Parisian public transport, if you believe the rumours).  The Signature was the perfect foil to the cheese platter - especially with the manchego, bringing out rich vanilla flavours when you wash down a mouthful.

As for the menu, here it is:

Grilled Crocodile tail with tamarind salsa
2006 Kanta Riesling

The Four Dances of the Sea
Soused snook, calamari squid ink noodle, octopus aioli, spiced prawn
2008 Maximum Viognier

Pink Snapper, snook sausage, snowpea prawn, prawn brain sauce
2007 William Fevre Petit Chablis

Warm salad of braised Venison shin, baby vegetables, honey venison jus
2005 Robert Johnson Merlot

Spiced Wagyu beef with arugula pesto
2006 Romney Park Reserve Shiraz

Braised Shark Lip, Sea Cucumber in Carrot oil, Aromatic broth
Lustau 'Rare Amontillado'

Manchego, Fourme D'Ambert, Epoisses, Camembert Grand Terroir
2004 Yalumba 'The Signature' Shiraz Cabernet

Opera slice, peppered strawberry and vanilla ice cream
2008 Alasia Moscato d'Asti

$169 for food, $89 for the wines

Copyright Melvin Yeo 2010