Last night, I had one of the most memorable Spot Prawn dinner of the season. Chef Thomas Heinrich of Mosaic at the Hyatt created a 5-course Chef's Tasting Menu that is nothing short of spectacular. For $45, you get spot prawns in a variety of presentations. We got two extra courses, so this was truly a decadent meal.
Once seated, we were served warm Savoury Biscuits with a small pat of butter, but to be honest, these are so pillowy that you really don't need to add anything to them. Slightly garlicky and laced with smoked sea salts, these are a great way to start our meal.
**Note** This is not part of the 5-course tasting.** We started off with the Beef Carpaccio. Thinly sliced rounds of Spring Creek Beef from Alberta, with garlic scapes, some horseradish cream and fried capers. Competing with beef for MVP is the 64 degree egg. It is slow cooked via immersion for hours and gives the yolk a creamy warm centre. Break the egg and voila, you've got your sauce!
The first course of the tasting is a Spot Prawn Terrine. There are about 12 prawns in this terrine, and the slice isn't skimpy either. You really appreciate the flavours of the prawn, and you get a bit more of the sea from the balls of ikura on top. There are also few fiddled head ferns (hidden beneath the terrine), and the two sauces you see are a fermented black garlic emulsion, as well as a tart and tangy meyer lemon gel. A refreshing way to start the spot prawn love!
Our next course was the Spot Prawn and Arugula Salad. The bitterness of the arugula really heightens the sweetness of the spot prawns. The citrus gel on the side serves as the dressing, making it as light or as saucey as you prefer. There are also some slightly spiced and seasoned almonds for additional crunch. Buried within the tower of arugula were three perfectly cooked spot prawns.
**Note** This is not part of the 5-course tasting.** Our next dish of Skuna Bay Smoked Salmon arrived with a bit of pomp and circumstance, complete with a glass cloche. Once they remove the cloche, the smoke trapped within is released and the aromas hit you before you even taste a single bite. The maple bourbon gelee is tangy, and almost overwhelms the salmon, but when paired with an Avocado Terrine, the balance of flavours is impeccable. I also loved the edible flowers.
Whoa! We've hit the halfway point now...this is the Spot Prawn Carbonara. This was the richest dish of the night. Handmade linguini in a carbonara sauce with loads of spot prawns and Geldermen Farms Pork Belly, topped with a 64 degree egg. Again, when split, the yolk makes the dish even richer and creamier, and the colours were very vibrant. The noodles were thick and al dente, giving the dish a nice hearty feel. The fresh peas actually pop in your mouth and when combined with the spot prawns and pork belly, everything contributes to make this a perfect dish. And because this is a tasting menu, you don't get a huge plate of delicious pasta, but just enough to make you appreciate it.
For our final course of the night, this is the Spot Prawns & Spring Creek Beef. The beef is cooked to a perfect medium rare, and plated alongside three spot prawn. There are fava beans strewn throughout the plate but a great garnish is the Pomme Maxim, a much more elegant scalloped potato. The thin slices of potato are dredged in potato starch and then arranged into a circle, before being pan fried. This was as pretty as it was tasty.
For my mom, Chef Heinrich was nice enough to make her a Spot Prawns & Lamb entree, as she is not a fan of beef. Again, there are three spot prawns paired with three large medallions of lamb, cooked perfectly medium. The lamb was moist and super tender, and my mom loved that the lamb was lean and boneless.
For dessert, my mom was thrilled with the Cardamom Ice Cream with on a Tangerine Consomme. The dried tangerine crisp was pretty cute too. The cardamom flavour in the ice cream was fairly mild, so if you're not a fan of the spice, don't let that deter you. My mom isn't a fan either but ended up polishing up my leftovers, probably because the tangerine really balances out the dessert.
The 5-course tasting menu is only available until May 29 (due to the short Spot Prawn season), but don't fear, Chef Heinrich is already working on his next tasting menu after that.
The food is amazing, but what sets this tasting apart is the artfully executed plating of each dish. And no, it's not too pretty to eat because although your eyes may appreciate the presentation, you have to treat your mouth to the exquisite flavours!
To see other Spot Prawn dinners, click here.