Tetsuya’s, the food factory

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What makes a man (or a woman) interesting?

Or rather: why are we attracted by some people that we meet, so much so that we want to hang out with them?

Beauty? I would not say so. It is such a subjective factor. Sometimes, even, you can make the complete turn, so that even those who have objectively ugly sides ends up looking beautiful. Think of Vincent Cassel for example…

The intelligence? Partly. And if, above all, it does not result in presumption or even worse in snobbery.

Power? Working position? The origins?

None of this.

Personality is what matters to me. That sort of strong aura, incredible attractive power that tells you who can boast an enormous charisma.

Here is what attracts me in a friend, a woman, a simple work colleague.

The personality.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean complexity. There are very simple people with a very strong personality.

I am so much fascinated by personality that, on the other side, amorphous, anonymous, no-dimension people annoy me.

The same is for the places. Companies. The activities. Even ideas.

That’s why the restaurant I’m about to tell you, didn’t receive the maximum of my judgment. While understanding the meaning and direction, while appreciating raw materials, basic technique and inventiveness, its anonymity in particulars maybe small but obvious, cannot change my idea.

I’m still in Australia, and I will stay there for a while. I’m in Sydney. And I’m about to live a new experience: the Tetsuya’s.

Unlike the other restaurants I visited in Australia, this is not in the suburbs but right in the middle of the city: on the ground floor of a wonderful building.

The chef Tetsuya Wakuda manages the place, and he arrived in the Kangaroo Land from Japan at the age of 22, in 1982, holding a small vocabulary and a tiny suitcase filled only with “love for food”… So at least this is what his biography says.

He would have never imagined becoming one of the nation’s most beloved chefs.

As you know, there are no Stars in Australia. But if the Michelin guide arrived here, Tetsuya’s restaurant would be inserted. His is a fusion cuisine produced by his origins and European techniques.

The room in front of me is enormous and it’s not the only one. In fact, Tetsuya’s can accommodate up to a hundred diners. I’m struck by the kind of safe boxes on the walls. They are made of glass and contain vases and plants inside them. Very beautiful stone sculptures, then, complete the location giving the restaurant an extremely elegant atmosphere.

In front of my table, set in a simple but splendid way, there is a huge window. It overlooks a Zen garden: excellent view to relax while waiting for the dishes.

There is no real tasting menu at Tetsuya’s: the chef, in several steps and with different dishes, tries to explain to each guest his idea of cooking.

We start with the amuse bouche: a prawn divided in two, pepper and lemon scent with seaweed at the base, seasoned as if it was a salad. The plate on which this dish is served is beautiful: concave and wonderful. I think it was made just for the restaurant.

Let’s talk now about the tuna tataki with bean sprouts, wasabi, spring onion and soy sauce. Quite appreciable.

I eat with a 2013 Curly Flat Pinot Noir: ruby red in colour, with hints of red fruits at the nose, floral swirls of violets, flowers, dried herbs, leather and spices. On the contrary, on the palate it appears structured, enveloping, at the limit of the plush. Surely plump with a beautiful contrast given by acidity.

It is the time of the salmon fillet with a crumble of crunchy olives, salmon roe and julienne cucumber.

Then the cuttlefish cut into strips and placed on a wonderful cream of peas. Again a dish of a disarming simplicity but exquisite in its flavour.

We continue with a lobster half-tail with a lobster sauce, onion and coconut flakes and finally the beef: a cube of wagyu meat with crispy artichokes, sea bream tartare and white mushrooms. This continuous contrast between black and white is very interesting, the plating, then, deserves the highest vote.

We conclude with a pre dessert: a cnel of apple sorbet with a coconut milk foam at the base; and finally chocolate in three different shapes, with gold leaf, hazelnut ice cream and biscuit crumble.

While I am tasting my small pastry (made of macaron, small truffles and Italian meringues) I draw my conclusions. Tetsuya’s is austere, both the place and the people inside the restaurant. Without forgetting the presentation of the dishes. Everything is done in the good way, but there is nothing that allows you to find the excellence. Briefly, there are neither major criticisms, nor praises.

Simplicity risks turning into something impersonal.

Tetsuya’s looks like a food factory rather than a high-level restaurant.

 

Final mark: 3 beards and a half.

 

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