Monday, April 5, 2010

Celebrating 2 years above the Aqua Linea

It was our two year anniversary last Tuesday and continuing on the grand tradition (started, coincidentally, 1 year ago), we decided to pull out all the stops and go fancy for a bit of nosh.

Last year's bash at Bishamon would be hard to beat, but with a little extra money in the bank thanks to an early anniversary present from the in-laws, we decided to step it up a notch and go as far out as possible before we stepped into the black hole of stupidly-priced nonsensical twattery (aka anything on Eagle Street, particularly anything starring a TV chef). Teneriffe's Aqua Linea fitted the bill nicely.

From the gin and tonic aperitif right through to the chocolate "gravel" of the dessert, it was a polished, yet restrained affair. A bottle of 2008 Cloudy Bay Sav Blanc (cheekily marked up way beyond its means) was swiftly delivered, along with a couple of slices of dense, creamy pumpkin bread with olive oil to line the stomach. As usual, pork belly screamed at me from entree list, while the Tiger opted for the rather enticing prawn and leek ravioli. The belly was, however, a touch on the dry side with the soy-braise hardly present - but the peanut dressing pulled it through; and you can't really go too wrong with what is essentially a thick hunk of bacon. The texture of the rav seemed quite light and watery - reminiscent of steamed dumplings rather than traditional pastry. The filling was dense and the creamy sauce plentiful; we were both touching the happy side after that effort.

We both eyed the duck for mains, but the Tiger capitulated and opted for the Black Angus fillet instead. The tea-smoked duck was beautifully presented: a thinly sliced fillet, rare in the middle, on a bed of sugar snap peas and a scallion roesti. A fig compote rested against the end of the fillet, and assorted greens danced around the remainder of the white square. The steak, meanwhile, was a study of ordinariness - the round fillet on top of a runny potato mash (a-hem, sorry... pommes mousseline), surrounded by the vegies. Basically, a sexed-up version of meat n 3-veg... how pretentiously unpretentious.

But fuck it, it tasted orright, dinnit? The duck had the unmistakable earthiness of the tea embedded within the flavour, but the roesti (bascially a potato cake) was the clear winner - crunchy and crackly on the edges, but soaked with the duck juices in the centre. The only criticism, and this is almost too absurd to utter considering the amount it cost, was that there was just a touch too much on the plate. Meandering through each element meant the duck lost is sheen and became a little too congealed and fatty towards the end, while the roesti finished in a messy mulch. The wonderful side dish - rocket with cinnamon poached pear, Parmesan and lemon oil - is now in the process of being dissected and incorporated into the Tiger's growing culinary arsenal.

The Tiger decided to end the night with a decadent flourish - the bittersweet chocolate torte - while I finished the vino. Unfortunately, the torte didn't live up to expectations, but hey - you can tell desserts were purely an afterthought at this sort of establishment. And so with the bottle drained, and a couple of green notes passed to settle the bill, we strolled romantically along the riverfront, happy with our pleasant celebration of our nuptials and excited that our next one will be spent in our new city.


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