Posted by: Food Lover | November 10, 2014

Aletier Amaro: The Art Of Food


We were in Warsaw in July for a few nights at the end of a 2 1/2 week vacation in Poland. Having experienced many incredible meals during the trip we wanted to end with a BANG with something truly gob-smacking. It just so happened a magazine in our hotel room mentioned that Warsaw had gotten its first Michelin star restaurant. We asked the concierge if it were possible to get in on short notice; she laughed and said, “They’re booking into November. I can call and ask, and they’ll laugh, and I’ll laugh with them.” This was of course said in good humour and we asked her to indulge us anyway. That evening we got the incredible news that a reservation had cancelled at Aletier Amaro and we had a reservation for the next night.

The restaurant is situated in a beautiful park in the heart of Warsaw near the historic royal family’s palace grounds. We were greeted by the maitre d’ and shown to our table. We knew we were in for a special evening when we asked our host if it was alright to take pictures for our food blog – we’re always careful never to take pictures at a finer establishment without permission. Not only was he happy to grant permission he invited us to tour the kitchen and meet the chef when we were finished our meal. More on that later!

The food had a consistent theme of fresh seasonal ingredients and edible flowers, which was quite special. In addition we chose the menu with spirit pairings for each dish. Thank goodness we cabbed it! The meal began with three amuse bouche each one bold and beautiful. Of particular note was a potato “chip” so thin it seemed to split the atom. Served with fermented garlic paste and potato vodka gel. An amazing act of food chemistry, this “chip” was like nothing we’ve ever had before. It was exquisite!

potato chip

The next two were just as fascinating:

 

slated cucumber

Salted cucumber with watercress and flowers. The fresh tastes of spring!

 

 

chocolate dirt
Nasturtium flowers with marinated cherry, in chocolate “dirt” – the best part about the chocolate is that it was just barely sweetened, letting the cacao really come through.

Before the first course arrived they brought a fascinating selection of breads: the black one is made using hay ash, which you could taste distinctly in a surprisingly pleasant way; caraway seed croissant; sour dough, and white bread. Pretty impressive was the hot pebbles at the bottom of the burlap bag, which kept our bread warm for quite some time!

bread

The first course gave us another insight into how amazing this dinner was going to be. It was a buttery piece of foie gras served with tomato, verbena flower all in an extraordinarily delicate flavourful apple and rosemary consomme. This came with liqueur made from miniature plum brought from Kazakhstan, unadulterated before fermentation.

rosemarry consume

Next came a beautiful plate of broad kidney bean and the leaf of a flower, with rabbit skin beneath that was hard to see because it is coated in a broad bean sauce. This was complimented by a lavender and chèvre powder. The spirit served with this dish was a sea buckthorn, which is a berry that favours post glacial sandy conditions. It comes from the Baltic region near the German border. The sea buckthorn is harvested during the first frost. First the sea buckthorn is macerated for 4 years, then fermented in glass containers so the flavour is untouched by other elements. In the summer it is placed in the sun to allow it to slowly and gently caramelize.

rabbit skin

Next came a dish that can only be described as sashimi/not-sashimi. It was trout marinated in salt and sugar and cooked at 36 degrees for 20min. The texture of the trout is hard to describe. While it looked raw – like sashimi – the texture leaned away from an uncooked fish. Add to that the penetration of the marinade flavours and you had a truly special dish. The trout was paired with a green pea flower, green pea leaves and puree as well as a sorbet of elderflower and beet root to complement. The dish was served with Golden Rose Liquor, made of macerated golden roses in alcohol.

trout

Next up a salted cucumber consomme with cucumber flower, and a bit of cucumber as well as a raw egg yolk. What made this dish particularly fascinating was what happened when you broke the yolk and mixed it into the consomme. The consistency changed completely and became more like a silky, soft, thin pudding. This was served with a late harvest wheat spirit.

cucumber consume

To break up the meal we were treated to a truly unique palate cleanser. It was a green tea sorbet served with “dirt” – the same bitter chocolate cocao powder that we had as part of an amuse bouche earlier. The presentation was like a little sculpture, making the food into two mushrooms. Really beautiful – was almost a shame to eat it, but we did anyway!

sorbet

The next dish was the highlight of the meal – up to this point. We were both surprised how delicious zucchini and zucchini flower could be! The tart frozen raspberry caviar was a splendid flavour and texture, smoothed out nicely by goat cheese with some rosemary to add a savoury flavour. Truly marvelous and eye-opening. This was served with our favourite liqueur of the evening, Staripolska. It has strong notes of plum, honey, hazelnut and spices. We loved it so much we hunted down a few bottles and took them back home with us.

zucchini flower salad

When the baked turbot arrived served with young sunflower seeds, we admit to being a bit skeptical. Then we tasted it and our jaws dropped! The match of sunflower seeds with the turbot, complimented by roasted pepper, edible flowers and dill was an exquisite harmony of flavour. Served with a new potato vodka, where each vintage comes from a single farmer’s field, harvested in June. Each batch provides a very unique flavour.

turbot

Here’s a revelation we’ll never forget: freeze dried strawberries (with intense flavour and crunchy) covered in mustard powder. That right there is what makes a great chef, and humbles us every time. Oh yeah, and there was also a delicious perfectly spiced piece of venison on the plate as well, laying on top of buckwheat in caramelized buttermilk. Did you know you can caramelize buttermilk? We didn’t! Finished with delicious freshly foraged chanterelle mushrooms and a sunflower seed purée (these guys love their sunflower seeds) this dish displaced the zucchini dish as the highlight of the meal. It was served with Krzeska herbal vodka, but to be truthful this was one course that was so good we hardly paid heed to the spirit.

venison

 

Celeriac chip
Celeriac chip with chanterelle purée and bone marrow was served as a last savoury flavour before moving on to dessert. We love all things celeriac, mostly because it’s amazing what real chefs can do with anything celery – which in the hands of us mortals is otherwise a pretty uninteresting food.

poppy seed sorbet
Our palate cleanser: Poppy Flower Sorbet with Apple and Pine Jelly

And now on to what was, and remains, the most daring and unusual dessert we’ve ever encountered. In fact, the chef described it as “controversial”, inspiring either love or hate upon first taste. It’s one of those dishes that you really have to taste – it’s almost impossible to describe the flavour experiment that’s going on. We did love this dish, but even as we ate it we really had to ponder and process what was happening on our taste buds. How can we like something that’s confusing us this much? It’s important to mention that one of us normally HATES eggplant and yet, here was an eggplant dessert that was pleasant. The eggplant was served in the bitter-sweet cacao powder, sitting amongst plain yoghurt, with freeze dried wild strawberries and marjoram. We had to applaud the chef – inventive? yes! bold? yes! ballsy? absolutely! This will be one dish we’ll likely remember for the rest of our lives.

eggplant dessert

It was a meal very much worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant, at the end of which the maitre d’ made good his promise and took us downstairs to meet the head chef and the sous chef. We chatted about the meal and they were genuinely interested in hearing our opinion, especially about dessert! LOL We weren’t surprised to hear it was controversial, and they were both very pleased that we enjoyed it so much.

An amazing evening, after which we were most grateful that Warsaw’s taxis are prompt and inexpensive!

 

ATELIER AMARO
ul. Agrykola 1
Warsaw, Poland
 
WEBSITE
http://atelieramaro.pl/
 
ON TRIP ADVISOR
http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g274856-d2697599-Reviews-Atelier_Amaro_Restaurant-Warsaw_Mazovia_Province_Central_Poland.html
 
YELP:
http://www.yelp.ca/biz/atelier-amaro-warszawa
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