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Celebrate the season of plentiful at these fine establishments from the World’s Best family
December heralds the season of celebration, with plenty of festive feasts and gatherings around food and wine. Here are some of the most decadent offerings from the best chefs around the world – divine creations worth travelling for.
Pithiviers Grand Cuisine Bourgeoise
Julien Royer of Odette (www.odetterestaurant.com) in Singapore serves up a slice of French culinary heritage with this beautiful rendition of the 19th century grande cuisine classic. As with many of Julien’s dishes, there is also a personal story behind this creation: a humbler version with potatoes and pancetta is what his mother would make for his homecoming, for it is one of his favourite dishes. The Christmas edition at Odette is a beautifully crafted piece of edible art: nestled within the buttery puff pastry are layers of tender French hen, pigeon and creamy foie gras, all laced with fresh black truffle of the season. While the flavours are rich yet not overwhelming, the textures are delicately refined – making it an indulgent treat at its sophisticated best.
Brittany Langoustines and golden caviar
It is the season of the sea at Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee (www.alainducasse-plazaathenee.com) in Paris, this New Year’s Eve. Think haute cuisine preparations of oysters, Chausey Island sea scallops, Atlantic sea bass, and yes, Brittany langoustines, served in a clear, aromatic broth and alongside golden caviar. This being a celebratory feast, one can also expect lots of luxurious accents, especially in the form of white Alba truffle and black truffle shavings. All these, savoured in the fairytale-like dining room lit by 10,000 crystal chandelier drops, make for a magical experience like no other.
Gold and saffron rice…like a bouillabaisse
It is hard to predict what will actually come to the table of legendary Modenese restaurant Osteria Francescana (www.osteriafrancescana.it) based on what is written on the menu. After all, Massimo Bottura is well-known for his out-of-the-box creativity. However, dishes from the restaurant’s nine-course New Year’s Eve menu reads like a lavish treat with dishes such as an open ravioli of foie gras and black truffles, guinea hen with white truffle and of course, the enigmatic “Gold and saffron rice… like a bouillabaisse (sic)”. Apart from culinary surprises, one can also be guaranteed of luxe libations. Almost every course is paired with a premium wine, such as Krug 1996 with starters, Riesling Markus Molitor 1989 with the ravioli and a Louis XV De Venoge with a dish of Cotechino sausage with lentil and citrus.
Snow crab roe, legs, meat and butter
Nihonryori Ryugin (www.nihonryori-ryugin.com) in Tokyo owns its cult status for good reasons, and the current winter menu with a generous showcase of catches of the sea in its plumpest prime demonstrates their finesse to full effect. While it is not uncommon to serve all parts of the crab, the presentation here is sublime: under a crystal dome sits a row of ten carefully picked whole crab leg meat, blanketing a mound of the crustacean’s meat and crab butter. Sitting on the rim: a whole nugget of crab roe. Beyond decadent, the dining experience here also delights with chef’s humorous little touches: such as styling a mochi and shrimp omelette to resemble a tiny Christmas parcel, and serving it in a whimsical lacquer bowl illustrated with Christmas motifs.
Caviar of Sea Urchin, Sea Buckthorn & Sea Water
White Rabbit (whiterabbitmoscow.ru) in Moscow has always been known for their fun party vibe (and have they got an entertainment line-up for the New Year’s countdown party!), but it is also here that you can enjoy the warming, down-to-earth flavours of winter dishes – executed with panache. The winter menu features combinations such as duck with plums and elderberry and coconut “lardo” with black bread and beluga caviar – pairings that marry the humble with the luxurious to delicious effect. One such star item on the menu: a dish where lobes of sea urchin in its winter prime is accented with sea buckthorn and sea water. Simple luxury at its best.