Friday, July 11, 2008

Signs that you are dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant

I had the pleasure and great fortune of being invited to a dinner recently. Not having heard of the restaurant, I checked out its website. It was there that I saw a list of awards, and along with various other accolades and rosettes and what not:

Michelin starred

Ok, fine, it's not a big deal. It's a big deal to me ok? I've never eaten in one.

Sadly and to my great regret, it was a business/work dinner and therefore I couldn't be snapping away like a maniac (although I wanted too so much!), so you guys'll have to settle for my vivid literary descriptive skills. The photos featured here are actual photos from the restaurant though.

Here are the list of signs that would alert you that you are dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant:

1. You have to travel a shit-long distance for that restaurant. It's like driving one hour and getting lost for 2 to get to that really great and cheap Klang seafood place that is near the river thing. Really good restaurants are always a way out for some reason. It's like they want to test your dedication to eat there.

2. You don't notice there are waiters, but you love the maitre d'. The maitre d' is nice and jolly and explains the entire menu from top to bottom explaining how it is cooked, makes jokes, enquires about your health, never misses a thing you say, and always gets all your orders and food delivery right. The wine and water and various food items seem to magically appear because you never notice them bringing them to your table or refilling your glass. Seriously.

3. You honestly want to order everything on the menu. I've heard the phrase 'I don't know what to order, they all seem so good' but never really took it seriously - for the first time, I really wanted to order everything. I settled on:

Trilogie if Salmon,Caviar and Fromage Blanc - three cuts of salmon prepared in three different ways, one with caviar, one wrapped and seasoned with herbs, one in a pickled salad, with a herbed white cheese

Sea Bass and Crab Croustillant,Surf Clams,Antiboise Sauce - Sea bass and crab meat baked into a one-layer filo pastry on a bed of steamed vegtables, surrounded with surf clams

Hot Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream - this thing is damn good. A chocolate sponge pillow with melted chocolate inside, with pistachio ice cream on a thin wavy waffle thingamajiggie

4. Everything is perfect. The maitre d' knows exactly what to do whatever questions you have. There is not a single brown spot, tear or any imperfection (I checked) on any of your greens, no matter how small nor insignificant. The filo pastry is perfectly baked, with no black spots and absolutely no flaking at all. None. The starter came with two triangles of 'toast', except 'toast' is too lowly a title for that heavenly concoction. It was bread, perfectly white (instead of browned, don't ask me how they do it) and evenly sliced, and when I pushed my dinner knife into it, instead of 'squishing' slightly like normal toast, it sliced cleanly through with a orgasmic krrrrrk. With my blunt dinner knife!

5. Everything is delicious. Anything and everything that is presented to you as edible will be great-tasting. Some olives were on the table before we ordered, and while I don't like olives, I thought I'd try one, what the heck. I ended up gobbling about 4-5 of those.

The level of attention to detail is bordering on ridiculous. It is definitely a unique dining experience, and certainly not just about enjoying the taste of the food, but the presentation, the attention to detail and the quality of the service and dining atmosphere. These people make all the restaurants I've ever dined in look like amateurs.

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