I turned 29 on Monday.
Bald Eagle called me on Monday afternoon with a simple message. "Meet me at Max's at 8.15pm." I was elated!
I knew it would be no simple dinner. When a chef is given a free rein over the menu, one can expect only the best.
It was a 10-course meal that was designed to please.
Our first course of smoked salmon came with feta cheese and tomatoes on a bed of chopped spanish octopus, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I love how Max combined the different ingredients to create interesting flavours. The combination of salty, pungent, sweet and sour with the different textures was amazing. The second course of beef bresola (thin slices of cured, seasoned beef) was served together with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes in olive oil. Again, the combination of flavours were wonderful and I felt a sense of excitement, almost like opening christmas presents to see what Santa (in this case, Max) had put into my Christmas stocking!
The third course was undoubtedly Bald Eagle's favourite dish. The dish was creatively presented; one scallop, lightly grilled, with a sliver of sundried tuna inserted into it, and served with pesto sauce, and the other scallop served with pernod sauce with chopped vegetables. It was a difficult task deciding which one I preferred between the two, and really, there wasn't any reason to choose one, was there?
The fourth course was my favourite. Tuna loin wrapped in spanish chili with tomato clam sauce. The tuna loin was lightly seared so it was cooked on the outside while the inside was still red and juicy. It was my first time trying the spanish chili and I loved the intense sour taste (from the pickling) which combined well with the tuna. I wouldn't have thought that a creamy sauce would have gone well with the tart flavour of the chili, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the flavours blended with each other.
The grilled yabby was laced with old sherry which again, lent a slightly tart flavour to the dish. I would have loved to try more of it as there was only so much flesh in one yabby. Maybe next time.
There was more meat to chew on in the sixth course - smoked duck with yellow oyster mushrooms. The meat was not tough, as how duck sometimes tends to be. The seventh course of chicken breast was served with stewed vegetables - I remember eating bellpeppers and tomatoes - and this was served with a lovely garlicky sauce. The vampires would have stayed away from me. At this point, I was beginning to feel rather bloated, but like a woman in lust, I was unable to say "stop". And so the waiters brought out the eighth course - grilled lamb with cannellini beans. The beans are similar in size to kidney beans, but they are white in colour and a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine.
And then came out the ninth course. The dish that made me weep tears of happiness. Wagyu beef cheeks served on mashed potatoes. Simply divine.
The final course was the dessert which consisted of warm chocolate souffle, kataifi pastry and lovely vanilla icecream. I amazed myself by finishing up everything. I suppose one doesn't have to try very hard when there's good food around!
And to top it all off, what's a birthday without a birthday cake eh? (courtesy of Max)
It's been a lovely birthday week, so far, thanks to so many wonderful people. Bald Eagle, for the beautiful flowers and a delicious dinner so lovingly planned, my dear friend, Kenny Mah, for the wonderful collection of 4 pieces of writings, Bouncing Barbie for the yummy Japanese lunch at Mizu (you know what I like, girl!), all the sweet little presents from friends, so thoughtfully chosen, and the wishes..those wonderful SMSes (yes Robert, you're the first!), emails and calls from you, dear friends and readers....I'm such a lucky girl. And I'm really happy. :-)