Sometimes savoring comes in the unexpected. Sometimes savoring comes out of the box. You might need to open your mind to something new, put away your fears and expectations and open up to undiscovered flavors. We did this very thing last Friday night at Le Chique at Azul Sensatori Hotel in Mexico.
Chef Jonatan Gomez Luna, who trained at El Bulli (rated for a long time as number 1 restaurant in the world!) treated us to a culinary adventure that was surprising, delightful and delicious! The meal was full of surprises! There were visual stunts and artistic displays. The flavors, textures and techniques defied any culinary experience we have had!
We have savored good meals, but this was one of a kind. It was special and we savored every moment.
We were first lead into the kitchen to see where science and art come together.
We were given a sparkling cucumber martini to begin the evening. Cheers!
We were escorted to our table. The meal was to include 14 courses (we counted more!) Our first dish was Liquid Olive with Rosemary Essence and a Gazpaccho Sphere with Spicy Chilli Oil. These exploded with flavor in our mouths! When we asked one of the kitchen apprentices how this dish was created, she went on to describe what happens chemically when seaweed is combined with other ingredients. “They come together and wrap up the flavor.” These gems were liquid inside.
Next came Fennel Volute with Smoked Eel and Brava Style Potato with Garlic Sauce. We were quickly beginning to realize what a treat we were in for! Each dish was uniquely displayed and told a story…and different members of the Le Chique team, came to share that story.
One of my personal favorites was next, the False Truffle and Trufe Marshmallow.
This black truffle looked to be a sweet piece of chocolate, but one bite took me on a journey through the woods of France! Oh my!
Following France, was a Japanese treat…Fried Sushi served with a dipping cauldron of bubbles. The levels of flavor and texture this little decorative boat embodied, are only explained by experience. (Sorry.)
Then, to finish our “Snack” course, we were served Mini Kebab Pastor Style with Pineapple Caviars and Nacho 2010. The Mini Kebab required our involvement. (We didn’t mind one bit!)
And the Nacho 2010 rounded out the snacks with another liquid gem, that tasted just like a plate of nachos!
The Tapas course followed. A twig tree was placed in the center of the table with cotton…candy. This was no ordinary cotton candy, this made us swoon. For inside was…
the creamiest bite of Fois Gras with a balsamic reduction, you will ever taste…(and if you ever make it to Mexico, you must!)
“Chocolate Covered Cherries” were served in a crystal vase a top a bed of rice. These were a sweet intermezzo.
Mexican Corn Truffle Baozi wrapped up our tapas in a warm and steamy little package.
Our courses were served with different wines starting with Prosecco. But, this libation stood out in the evening. We had never tasted its sweetness, let alone heard of it. Arzimo. Arzimo has won a place in our hearts and on our wine shelf.
Chef Jonatan introduced our next dish, Foie Creme Brule. This brooch was studded with jewels of lychee, apple and cardamom.
Four servers came out in a line with these large bowls…one for each of us.
This next dish was another highlight for us all and one we could tell Chef Jonatan Gomez Luna was proud of. A shadow box with smoke rising from it, was placed in front of each of us. In the center of the smoke was a pillow of four different types of seafood. Chef Jonatan went on to explain they represented the four coasts of Mexico, his home. As the dry ice dissipated, underneath the glass was the bottom of the ocean. Culinary art.
Twenty four hour roasted Piglet with Apple, Fennel and Potato was next. Notice the “apple marrow” which was like creamy butter…honestly, the pork was the texture of butter too.
Euphoria had been reached at this point, only to find out The Sweet Side of Le Chique was yet to be presented. Chef Gomez Luna brought out two different dishes and said, “Since you are foodies, I brought you a treat!” (I’m guessing all of our curious questions, tipped him off!)
The first dish was Liquid Chocolate Coolant with Coffee Ice Cream Between Clouds…or as we would call it, “Chocolate Heaven”.
The night ended with a bang! Chef brought out the gray cooler. He opened it and put a shriveled up red balloon in the white bowl. The balloon expanded before our eyes.
Thank you Chef Jonatan, your crew and the staff at Le Chique*! We were lead on a true adventure that we will savor for years to come!
*We were invited to be guests at Le Chique Restaurant at Karisma Hotel’s Azul Sensatori Resort in Mexico. We were guests at their table. This is part of our journey and the reflections of this meal, are our own, in every way.