Monday, February 28, 2011

The Apron - molecular gastronomy


The Apron

3099 Corvette Way, Richmond (inside Westin Hotel)

The Apron on Urbanspoon
Food: 2.5
Service: 4
Price: Fair ($28 menu)

I always attend Dine Out Vancouver every year, and this year was no exception. However this year, nothing really intrigued me except this one restaurant: The Apron. The 1st reason was that the menu looked good, and the 2nd reason was because I heard the chef likes to use some form of molecular gastronomy, which I been wanting to try.

To start off our meal, both R and I choice a drink. He went with a beer, and I went for a non-alcoholic ginger ale with strawberry puree. I loved this drink, it was like drinking strawberry flavored champagne without the alcohol after taste.

We were presented with a complimentary amouse bouche. This was made with sour cream foam topped off with popcorn and assorted veggie. There was definitely molecular gastronomy presented here, because it was like eating air, but with flavor. The foam melts into nothing as soon as it touches your tongue.

For my starter I chose Cherry Lane Butternut Squash soup with apple pearls, pumpkin seed and shallot. The soup and the other ingredient came separately, it was then combined in front of me. I have to say the most interesting part was the apple pearls, although it may look like tapioca pearls, but it was not. These were more jello like (agar based) and a bit tart. Overall this soup was too sourish for me, so I did not particularly enjoy it.

R had the Blown Mozzarella with eggplant puree, compressed mile's tomato and preserved walnut. Once again, molecular gastronomy integrated into this dish with the blown mozzarella. The cheese was blown to such a thin state that it virtually had no taste. The leafy green used here was quite bitter. The best thing on this plate was the tomato, as it was flavorful and juicy. Again, this was another dish that didn't wow us in taste.

For my main, I chose the Spiced Duck Confit with pomegranate, orange, walnut, and kale. The duck was way too crispy, and not juicy enough. Also, I found it lacked in flavor.

R had the Braised Lamb with Israel couscous, red bean puree, grilled scallion and dry lime parsley foam. The lamb was served 2 ways, one is in slice form, while the other is in a cube form. The cube was quite interesting, as it seems to be pieces of lamb 'glued' together to form the cube. The plating seemed a bit random, but generally a good dish.
To end the meal, I went for the Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee with almond biscotti. Although the creme brulee was smooth and creamy, but it wasn't as 'eggy' as I liked. Also the caramelized candy top was really thick, I had to knock on it pretty hard to crack it. The mini almond biscotti was good.
R had the Broken Down Baklava along with saffron pistachio ice cream, cardamon dates and rosewater honey. Both of us really liked this dessert, it was unique and great tasting, all the flavor just seems to work harmoniously.
Here is the final evidence that shows the presence of molecular gastronomy: the rosewater honey bubble. Although it looks like a droplet of honey, but really it was rosewater encased in a honey flavored bubble. The minute you pop it, you will taste the rosewater. It was really quite interesting.

Overall, both R and I weren't too impressed with flavors, but was certainly fascinated by the cooking techniques and presentation (it's random, yet artistic). Service here was great, they were friendly and sincere. In the end, I would actually recommend this place for anyone who is looking for a unique dining experience, because I certainly never had this type of food else where.


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