I do not like jokes.
Or better. I do not like stupid jokes.
And above all, I do not like jokes that you do with your hands. Come on, you know them too. Who knows how many times you have tried in the classic “slap of the soldier” or something very similar: like fingers that form circles, punches on the shoulders, slaps behind the neck and so on.
Here, you really need to know this: we would never be friends. Never mind, you will think. And basically, how to give you wrong?
However, for example, I have always loved surprises.
No, not those where someone appears out of nowhere and screams in your face. Not that stuff there. But, I like to come across things that I do not expect. It lights me up. No need to shout “surprise”. You do not need that the “novelty” is hidden inside the gift card or that the package is so large as to require a great effort to lift it. Just a sentence in a book, a new song, a person you do not know and that suddenly becomes familiar. A person who, without asking anything, manages to draw a scene in which the background loses importance. The world stops turning. The whole universe stops at that moment. To whisper in your ear: you are in “your” place. Welcome.
Today it happened twice. On two specific occasions.
The first: now I shout “surprise” to you. I’m in Australia. In Melbourne. Remember? I had mentioned it a few weeks ago. But, rightly, you didn’t remind it. It almost happened to me too. I just barely got on the transoceanic flight….
The second: certain loves make immense turns / but then return (quot.), Here I am in my place in the world. It’s called Dinner and it’s the Australian restaurant of that genius of Heston Blumenthal.
Our roads had already crossed in the summer: in Bray where his Fat Duck is based. The English restaurant was one of the best, if not the best ever, where I was lucky enough to eat. When I reached Australia I could not avoid starting my “new journey” from Blumenthal.
I owed it to him and I owed it above all to myself.
Dinner is inside the Crown Towers: an extra-luxury hotel also equipped with a casino. The location is creepy: the room is entirely glazed. Some of them have a view on the city and the river that runs along the building. The others are those that allow you to observe carefully the kitchen and its brigade of 25 people!
I carefully look at them: the table that was reserved for me, in fact, is right in front of the Blumenthal team. I am amazed by wood-burning fireplace: there are some peeled pineapples above the fire. They produce a juice, a cider, a kind of caramel that will then be used in the preparation of desserts.
As with the Fat Duck, even Dinner has its own concept: history. Each dish, in fact, belongs to a certain historical epoch, as if to form a long path capable of offering flavours perhaps forgotten.
As a starter, and then as an appetizer, I choose two courses: Meat Fruit of 1500 and Salamagundy of 1720. The first dish consists of a mandarin rebuilt with chicken liver inside with a slice of bread cooked on the grill. The second, instead, consists of chicken, braised radicchio, herbs and peanuts in brine. Excellent choice to start with.
Let’s go to the main course: the Lamb & Cucumber roast of 1830. Lamb with cucumber, spinach, red turnip served in different ways and a turnip quenelle.
Then the second main, the Groper & Green Sauce roast of 1400: fish, onions and mussels. Interesting choice.
We close with the desserts: the tipsy cake or the famous cake, of which I spoke earlier, built with pineapple cider cooked at the fireplace. A recipe of 1810. And the Gingerbread Ice Cream, 1810, with an Italian meringue made with ginger and filled with pear, chocolate and caramel ice cream.
Considering the location, the service, the quality of Blumenthal‘s cooking, the cost and even the wine (a 2012 Farrside by Farr: a fleshy pinot, deep and with a very mineral taste) I do not think you can give more than three beards to the Dinner.
To quote De Gregori: “The boy will do himself, even if he has narrow shoulders”.
I will come back when it will be grown up.
Final rating 3 beards.