Gypsy Chef’s exclusive dining experience at the Grill Counter is a thing of simple culinary wonder. And you need to get a seat before he leaves town
Chef Myers and the restaurant’s Executive Chef Alexandre Szkaradkiewicz have lit the fire on a new and exclusive culinary master-class over the restaurant’s showpiece charcoal and wood fired Grill Counter.
The dining experience is limited to only the six seats that look directly onto the blazing open grill. The experience is running on September 25, 27 and 28. Reservations can be made from 7pm. It comes to Dhs350 per person. And wine pairing by the sommelier is also available with price upon request.
As part of the party at the launch event of the new menu dining experience, Debonair got a first taste of what an exhibition in high-end gastronomy made to look effortless and beautiful. This is, without doubt, one for those with a refined palate that appreciates elegant simplicity.
So, having tasted it all, our urgent advice is this: get in quick. Spaces on this particular chef’s table won’t stay vacant for long.
Steak tenderloin, lobster rolls, king crab, ember-grilled oysters and quails eggs are all thrown onto the grill at some point in an eight-course wonderland of Chef Myer’s gastronomic imagination.
With the incandescent grill rippling away behind the two chefs, the smell of fresh fish and meat billowing up with the flames, as both Chefs talk you through the concept behind the dishes, the stories behind the ingredients and the flavour combinations, the experience is an intimate, interactive one.
It’s a rare sort of dining treasure where constant photographs and boomerangs for the ‘gram will get in the way of the enjoyment of the meal. And thus, this is a gorgeous gastronomic foray into a world sans cyberspace and virtual reality, and instead places an emphasis on human interaction, especially with these two highly-reputed kitchen masters before you.
“I hadn’t even thought about that, but I love the thinking there,” Chef David Myers tells me after the event, when I ask about removing the phone from people’s hands and getting them to focus on the chefs, conversation and the atmosphere that the food is being served in. “It’s about creating an intimate space where people talk to each other and don’t feel cut off from the kitchen or the staff,” he says.
He’s known as the gypsy chef because he’s always travelling. The nickname works. But what works even better are the flavours in the simple but exquisite dishes that the well-heeled celebrity Chef brings to Bleu Blanc’s new dining experience.
A personal highlight from the eight-course degustation-style menu is the steak tartare on wood-fired potato skins. Myers literally “threw this dish together” one night, late after service at his first restaurant — Sona, in Los Angeles — using left overs from the evening service. And this is what he came up with. A simple, fun and light way to tuck into some delicately seasoned tartare, which is fluffy and velvety in texture and is balanced nicely by the crispy, cradling potato beneath.
And then there’s the lobster roll. Your mission, should you choose to indulge in it, is to find a better lobster roll in the region. And once again, it’s simple food done to perfection. The sort of thing Michelin judges keep an eye on. Seasoned with seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and a saffron aioli, the black bun is made from a charcoal powder from Japan, which aids. Visually it’s stunning, too. A little red shiso leaf sits atop the golden aioli. But Chef Myer’s advice is, “Just pick it up and bite into it!”
There’s much in the menu that is inspired by Myer’s East Coast roots, such as the grilled oysters (which are flown in fresh from Maine), which they cook so slightly on the embers of the grill: and you know they’re ready when they pop. I said it was atmospheric, right? The grilled oysters evoke the taste of East Coast beach parties, where in the summertime, people flock to the beach in and go clam hunting, and then cook them on the sand. Once again, this dish is a fun way to enjoy a classic with a Bleu Blanc take on it.
Then the centrepieces arrive: an enormous King Crab followed by a beef tenderloin that is sultry and melt-on-the-tongue delicious. And this meaty finish to the mains is the showstopper.
With the steak, the emphasis is on the meat. And the meat alone. There’s no jus, sauce or even much seasoning — just a light sprinkling of salt and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. The Gypsy Chef and Chef Alex want the meat to be a gastronomic performance in its own right, highlighting the quality of the ingredients, which are sourced directly from a family run farm in Ireland, dry aged and matured for a minimum of thirty days. And the result is a steak to savour.
I later asked Chef Myers why he brought the chef’s table to The Renaissance. “I love international travel, I don’t need to be here, but I love it, being in touch with our customers, keeping my finger on the pulse,” he says. “International flavours have this amazing appeal for me, so that’s what I’m bringing out here with this menu,” he says.
And there can be little better reason to get a table at Bleu Blanc’s chef’s table, than to be served and talked through the menu by the gypsy chef himself.
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