Mystery Dining at Maremoto

My sister wanted to go along to Maremoto. Yet another one of those interesting places that offer interesting twists using modern cooking techniques made popular by the likes of El Bulli and The Fat Duck. When we tried to book, we found out that the restaurant was actually shut for the winter period (or at least for a short period) although offered an alternative – one where you could do private dinging with the chefs. My sister had organised all of this, and when we went to dinner, I hadn’t realised that what this actually meant was a visit to someone’s apartment where they chefs were preparing the dinner for a very small number of us (four people to be precise).

We found out later that the apartment was actually the friend of one of the chefs, and they had kindly lent it out. I’m not actually going to tell you where it was, although it’s not near to where their current restaurant was. I made that mistake, and we ended up catching a taxi to the restaurant after I didn’t realise that we were eating in a different place.

When we finally arrived at the apartment, the two chefs greeted us. The ratio of chef to diners being 1:2, and we met another couple who’d done this private dining extravaganza before.

Our first course, was something to behold. A stunning journey through tomatoes done many different ways. So many ways that even looking at the picture doesn’t really help me remember. We had a “tomato ravioli” stuffed with ricotta cheese, three different types of tomato seeds accompanied by three different types of salt (volcanic, pink sea salt, and British maldon). There was a “crisp” tomato, and then some sweet tomatoes served with sugar spiral. Almost overwhelming. Almost.

Our next dish would be a freshly cold smoked oyster. Done at the table, the whole experience was simply stunning. Here’s the picture absorbing all the smoke.

And then the unraveling of the oyster. As much as I don’t normally like oysters, this one went down a treat.

Next up was a piece of fish, local to the region and I don’t really remember what it was. Accompanying it was an olive oil ice cream (it’s in the spoon) though I’m not really sure it worked.

It also came with some other stuff that my memory is failing to bring to light. The fish was nicely cooked, firm and flaked well. another pretty good dish executed nicely, though not quite perfect.

Next up, we had a piece of steak. Cooked really rare, accompanied by micro greens, and a miso sauce/soup gel on two different spoons. The beef here literally melted in the mouth, had deep flavours indicating a good hanging, and hopefully a happy cow.

The gel is definitely one of the “modern cooking” techniques chefs love to draw from, and given the beef, miso proved a good choice to add the salty dimension through this unusual vehicle.

Next up, desserts. A tart lime ice cream block, accompanied by a bitter dark chocolate powder and a caramel tuile. A good combination and a good dish on our way to finishing our meal.

We finished with this final dish. We were asked whether or not we wanted it full impact or not, and not really knowing any better went for the full one. Why bother going somewhere and not trying the full experience. My mistake. What arrived looked innocent enough. A raspberry cream, topped with another scoop of ice cream, and what looked like a pepper tuile. What I didn’t realise until it was far too late were the really fresh sichuan peppers that laid around the plate. Sichuan provides an interesting numbing effect to the palate however these were really fresh ones, and, as a result, also have a huge kick to them. Whilst I enjoyed this dish, I definitely struggled as the heat and numbing effect from the fresh peppercorns held my mouth hostage for a while.

The chef, after liberally pouring much wine throughout the meal, and continuously topping up the glasses, then decided to conclude the meal with a moutai. I declined at first because my head was starting to spin, and this thing definitely put me over the edge of a place I really shouldn’t have been. Not that anything bad happened. It just made me extra sleepy on the way home.

I did manage the stairs.

And could still hold the camera still to take this photo. The evening went down really well and I’d love to go back and enjoy more of it.

Name: Maremoto
Found at: This experience, not to be disclosed.

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