Manresa: Mauro Colagreco Dinners
Last Saturday and Sunday, Mauro Colagreco of restaurant Mirazur in the south of France was a guest chef at Manresa. My dinner there Sunday was as follows:
Three Amuse bouche:
Garden barbajuans (beet greens, chard, chrysanthemum…) - small pastry filled with creamed (though I don't think there was any cream involved) garden greens.
Shot of shallot cream, Granny Smith apple, & 'sode de dulse' - an 'Arpege Egg' substitute with layered ingredients/flavors, with rich and salty tastes and contrasting textures.
Oyster with kohlrabi choucroute, champagne vinegar
Creamy potato soup with a Columbian coffee foam - very rich and creamy potato velouté topped with a coffee foam.
Marinated mackerel, subtly spiced, with egg and asparagus, nasturtium - a dish of interesting contrasting textures; the fresh, raw asparagus was grated and formed into quinelles.
Cod tripe, crushed Jerusalem artichoke; bouillon of dashi and baby watercress - another very interesting dish, though I find that I am not overly fond of cod tripe even when prepared to this level of excellence.
Japanese Sea Bream, puree of turnip, wild sorrel and a mesquite seashell sauce - one of the best dishes I've ever had. The sea bream, sourced from Japan, was full of flavor and perfectly cooked to a creamy texture. The texture was so perfect and unusual, I asked if it was transformed some way, but the chef's insisted it was the quality of the fish, and 'slow-broiling' with perfect timing. The seashell sauce was smoked with mesquite and then foamed. A great dish.
Roast squab and boudin noir with strawberries, beets both raw and cooked - Strawberries and beets - winter meets spring. The squab was perfectly cooked and the boudin noir puree was rich and delicious.
Spring lamb with morels “achillea millefolium”, vegetables and golden marjoram butter - nothing particularly innovative here, but innovation wasn't needed as this was a dish showcasing superior ingredients and cooking them to perfection. The lamb was from Napa and was sweet and tender. The morels were almost marinated in rich seasoned butter and melted in your mouth.
Meadowsweet ('reine de pres') foam, granita of coriander and pineapple sorbet. - a beautiful dessert playfully showcasing herbs in an unsusal setting (frozen and foamed).
Jasmine flower in white chocolate, poorman orange sorbet, sweet peas and peanuts - another beautiful dish highlighting spring peas so sweet that a pea puree was featured as a garnish.
We were seated promptly for a 7:30 reservation, and left the restaurant at midnight after coffee and a complimentary chocolate truffle.
We bought a champagne and 2005 Dagueneau Pur Sang off the list, and brought along a 2001 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne, and a 1975 Joseph Phelps Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
A most pleasant evening.
Nice report. Besides the great food and execution, the guest chef thing in my mind sets Manresa apart. It takes a certain spirit to be open to that. From a philosophical I really appreciate it...probably keeps the food fresh as well. Last year I read they had Alain Passard there. The lamb and morels sound really great.
Paul, thanks so much for a great report. Reading your descriptions of the food was a vivid reminder why Manresa is my favorite restaurant on the planet. While I didn't make it to the Colagreco dinners, Mirazur is very high on my to-do list next time I'm in Europe. The Noma dinners at Manresa are not terribly far off, either...