Saturday, January 19, 2013
After our sleek cocktail experience at Eau de Vie, The American Oculist and I were off to dine at Food Society, where our gorgeous friend, Chef Ali Bahmad is the head chef. It was our first time dinning here and the excitement was palpable.
At 7pm, we stroll into a very busy, buzzing restaurant. This makes me smile. Go Ali! Food Society serves Eastern European-inspired food and the decor is also thus inspired. I am reminded of my days in Hungary where I dined at many a bistro, exposed brick walls clad in assorted oddities and pictures. I am reminded of my days in Hungary, when I was vegetarian and the only dish I seemed to be served everywhere was an overly-brown, deep-fried wedge of cheese. It was awful. It drove me to tears one day... Anyway, I digress.
We are sent from the chef a plate of the Fried Cauliflower with Paprika, Parsley, Watercress and Red Wine Vinegar. It was uncanny as we were perusing the menu and had just finished saying "We should get the cauliflower", when a plate of it materialises before our eyes. The batter is subtle and sweet and houses perfect florets of al dente cauliflower.
The lovely chef also sends out to us Russian Style Ravioli with Pork and Beef. It is bathed in a sour cream, dill and chervil dressing. I have to fight really hard not to gobble this all up. The tang of the sauce sings a lovely duet with the meat.
Mains are designed to be shared. I like the whole share philosophy as I love eating as much variety as possible. My pick was the Grilled Cuttlefish on Squid Ink Risotto with Parmesan. I had already stalked the menu that morning and was dreaming about this dish all day as I worked one of the more bizarre promo shifts I have done (riding around dressed as Superwoman on the top of an open double-decker bus promoting the cricket, but hey, whatever pays the bills). The cuttlefish is tender and flavoursome and the risotto is thick and creamy and shrouds my hunger with love.
The American Oculist picks the Roasted Duck with red apple, walnut, watercress and parsnip cream. The flesh is juicy and smacks of that fatty ducky goodness.
We need a long break before we can contemplate dessert. Food Society's menu is hard-hitting. The food is more suited to winter and an appetite fuelled by cold hands and chattering teeth. We are so incredibly stuffed, but manage to stuff in a spot of dessert: Deconstructed Pashka, which is Polish cheesecake with ricotta, strawberry and almond. This has a light, fluffy quality which is contrasted well by the density of the broken up crust pieces. We are also treated to Poppyseed Scroll with Plum Chips and Fresh Apricot Jubes. This scroll reminds me of something someone's Nanna would serve at an afternoon tea, but it is given an air of sophistication by the fermented poppyseed paste and the plum chips which are texturally intriguing and gorgeous in hue.
After a tour of the kitchen and a shot of homemade vodka which would bring back the dead, we call it a night. I am so proud of what my friend has achieved and can't wait for the rest of his culinary journey.
Chef Ali Bahmad; remember that name.