Collection Culinaire: Tasting February
The Collection Culinaire is a monthly changing, five-course tasting menu at the Brasserie Le Faubourg. January’s collection featured goose liver terrine with macadamia bread, goat cheese and sorbet; squid with scallops au gratin, wilted spinach and cumin sauce; veal with pied-de-moutons mushrooms, praline potato, roasted celery and pointed cabbage; lemon-poppyseed cake with lemon curd and fresh pomelo fruit… Read on to find out what February’s Collection Culinaire has in store.
Before each Collection Culinaire is served up to guests in the Brasserie, the whole team is invited into the kitchen to sample the new menu and wine pairings. As you can see from the picture below, the waiting staff and management are only too happy to oblige, but the tasting session serves an important function: it is a chance to get feedback on the menu from a group of genuine foodies. Any adjustments can then be made before the menu is offered to guests, and the waiting staff also know exactly what they are serving up.
The first course arrives and we are talked through the dish before tucking in: crab and oyster are paired with refreshing cucumber, apple and crispy puntarelle salad leaves. The little red hearts look great with the various shades of green. They taste mildly of sour apples and I learn that the are in fact apple blossom. The dish is paired with a 2011 Can Feixes four-grape blend.
I turn my attention away from the other tasters and towards the stoves where the chefs are putting the finishing touches to the next course: skrei cod with kale sauce, celery and roasted potatoes. Having spent most of my life just half an hour from the coast, I’m a bit of a fish fanatic, though in Berlin good fish is hard to find. This dish was just as it should be: the fish was fluffy and full of flavour, the sauce creamy and the mouthwateringly simple accompanying vegetables let the fish shine. The dish was paired with a 2011 Ernst Bretz grauer burgunder.
The next course is a great example of the importance of staff feedback; there was a general consensus that the pork did not work in the dish, so it has been replaced with breast of corn-fed chicken, accompanied by sot-l’y-laisse (a fillet-like cut of fowl, which literally means ‘one who leaves this on their plate is a fool’), gratinated chicoree, polenta and cordifol, all paired with a 2007 domaine de la borie blanche.
The next course, the cheese course from the wonderful Hennart fromagery, is this month paired with a delicious home made tomato and raisin chutney, candied black olives, a basil and sour cream mousse and some wonderfully crispy fried basil leaf garnish. The wine is a 2011 domaine de mairan.