The Ambassador Series continued last week with Ken O'Connell of Bracken Restaurant serving up an amazing five course degustation at his Dunedin restaurant.
The first course was a delight to the eye; crisp lamb shoulder, pickled cauliflower, apple cider & elderflower gel, preserved apple and aromatic leaves
. The lamb shoulder was succulent and flavoursome and encased in a crisp savoury coating creating a lovely textural element to the dish. The accompanying gel added a contrasting smoothness along with a fresh fruity flavour and the pickled cauliflower added a nice acidic tang to the dish. All the components were delicious in their own right but when combined, brought together a taste sensation enhancing the beautiful flavour of the lamb.
Course two was an earthy dish; smoked beef shin and brik pastry cigar with duxelle, oyster mushrooms and a tomato dressing
. The orange petals of the calendula gave this dish a lovely splash of colour. The earthy flavours of the mushroom and duxelle were the perfect match to the smokey beef shin encased in a crunchy brik pastry cigar.
The next plate presented to us featured beautiful Merino lamb backstrap with an eggplant sofrito, spiced carrot purée, herbed potato, asparagus and a lamb jus.
The lamb had a bold meaty flavour which was lightened by fresh vibrant herby flavours from the potato mash and the subtly sweet carrot purée. The eggplant sofrito added another layer of texture and flavour and the asparagus added a nice fresh crunch to the dish. The jus, delightfully presented in a delicate small jug, added a depth of flavour bringing the whole dish together.
The last protein course was visually stunning; fillet of beef, char grilled kumara, beetroot croquette, beetroot purée, crisp kale and miso brown butter.
This was a colourful feast for the eye with each component adding a taste and texture sensation. The fillet was dark and caramelised on the outside and tender and pink on the inside. The miso brown butter gently melted on top of the steak imparting a delicate flavour through the beef. The beetroot croquette was delightfully crisp on the outside and when cut in to revealed a vibrant, smooth and tasty inner. The kale was crisp and savoury and the earthy flavours of beetroot and kumara were the perfect match to the delicious beef flavour of the fillet.
With four courses of protein behind us it was time to freshen the palate with the most delicious, light lemon dessert; lemon vacherin, lemon curd sorbet, shortbread and crisp meringue.
This was the perfect way to end a wonderful evening of outstanding cuisine which had been expertly matched all the way through with some stunning Otago wines. Once again it was evident just why our Ambassador Chefs are chosen to show case the amazing beef and lamb grown here in beautiful New Zealand.