Winter is never known to be a season of culinary fruitfulness. Dry leaves and freezing breeze are for hibernation, and not harvest. During these two winter months of agricultural infertility, certain rare, extremely precious organisms flourish to the delight of exprienced chefs and seasoned gourmets, the first at the excitement of crafting new dishes from this delicacy and the second, at the chance to savour this gem of an ingredient — the white truffles.
Growing only in the wild with limited harvest time, white truffles are considered one of the finest of ingredients. But as many chefs strive to acquire them, usually at sky-high price, not many possess the expertise and creativity to concoct dishes that perfectly capture the true treasure of its flavour. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Michelin-starred chef Ryuki Kawasaki of Lebua’s Mezzaluna. His simple and elegant approach, with a focus on finest seasonal ingredients, seems to highlight the flavour of white truffles, and without compromising the distinctive character of each and every dish either.
The five-course menu is preceded by the restaurant’s signature bread with 4 different dips and a set of 4 small hors d’oeuvre. The star of my dinner started with Kegani “Gâteaux,” with soft, fluffy Horsehair crab topped with sea urchins, salmon roes and cauliflower. The white truffles were brought to the table, and freshly sliced on top of each single dish right in front of you. The moist, melting texture of the crab and the rich flavour of sea urchin, once combined with soft crispiness of white truffles and Champagne J. De Telmont, Blanc de Noirs, 2012, make for a heavenly bite.
Next up is the Ezo Awabi “Risotto” which comes with another fine-dining ingredient that’s a contemporary favourite, Hokkaido abalone. Its large size and perfect shape aside, the delicacy is cooked with sake and abalone liver to bring out the flavour, and served as a risotto using Koshihikari white rice, dried seaweed and Shio Koji seasoning.
Moving on to the third dish — Kinki & Langoustine “Duet.” The juicy melting texture of rockfish blended smoothly with the chewy, rare langoustine, with Jerusalem artichoke, celery and sliced white truffles enriching the flavour of this seafood-based creation. Our main is the sumptuous Yellow Chicken “Ballotine,” made of free-range chicken raised in the South of France in an open-air pine forest near the sea. They are cooked with white wine with the Hazelnut-based sauce of creamy texture complimenting the tender, yet fulfilling texture of the meat. It’s noteworthy that the yellow chicken itself has a very smooth flavour, which makes it a perfect non-seafood meat to go well with white truffles in a sense that none of its textures, scent or flavour overshadow the hero material of our course.
Our dessert, Cashew Nut “Sable and Cream” feels light enough for a fifth dish, but the aroma of caramel sauce and the unique, distinctive white miso ice-cream leaves a truly satisfying after taste.
Mezzaluna White Truffle Delight Five Courses Dinner is priced THB 12,500++ Wine Pairing and THB 8,000++ without wine pairing. Available now until the end of December 2019.