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World's best modern/molecular restaurants


LPShanet
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And let us not forget Interlude in Melbourne, and Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo.

Interlude is no more. Reserve and Fenix were two other Melbourne restaurants that tried the "molecular gastronomy" path, and both of them closed their doors over the past five years. Still, the influence of el Bulli, Fat Duck, and co. can be seen on Australian menus with the use of foams, low pressure cooking, unexpected flavour combinations, etc.

Two places in Australia (and I haven't been to either of them) who might be included in a list of molecular gastronomy restaurants are the Royal Mail Hotel (www.royalmail.com.au) in Dunkeld, Victoria and Marque (www.marquerestaurant.com.au) in Sydney, New South Wales. Dan Hunter of the Royal Mail Hotel was a former head chef at Mugaritz in Spain.

At the other end of the scale, there's a place called Tender Trap (www.tendertrap.com.au) where....well.....here's the review from Epicure -

http://www.theage.com.au/news/reviews/tend...6377235127.html

There's also Bentley Restaurant and Bar and Oscillate Wildly in Sydney

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I am so over this whole molecular thing. Why can't a chef source outstanding products and do as little as possible to it. Why do "molecular" chef's need to make a foam or gelee or "risotto" and show no respect to an ingredient. I don't mean chef's at the high end places (Alinea, WD50, Mugaritz, Gagnaire, El Bulli, Fat Duck etc) but the average chef.

Ah, you'll cringe if you read the Age review of Tender Trap in my post above.

Look, I'm 25 and I know most of my colleagues around my age and younger love it. And when they cook something it has to be molecular. And it just doesn't work. It seems these places are shaping their future. I think they need to learn the basics before trying the new.

In Keller's "Under Pressure" one of his chefs writes about how young chefs still need to know the basics of cooking before they can really use the new techniques. After all, without the basics, how can they know that the new techniques will deliver the results they need?

In Australia, Alla Wolf-Tasker from the Lake House restaurant (Victoria, Australia) said the same thing. She's concerned that there will be a generation of chefs who can use all the latest equipment and ingredients, but won't know how to make a good stock from scratch.

The thing is that Adria, Blementhal, Keller, Achatz, and co. were all well grounded in traditional techniques before they moved onto the cutting edge of cooking.

Read it.... My point exactly. Don't get me wrong there is definetely a place for molecular gastronomy and molecular restaurants but it has to be done properly. In fact I'm making a trip to Paris soon and want to eat at Gagnaire (can't reserve till the month before. poop) so I'm still intrigued by it.

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Read it.... My point exactly. Don't get me wrong there is definetely a place for molecular gastronomy and molecular restaurants but it has to be done properly.

Anyone who reads the books by Adria, Blumenthal, and Achatz would know the amount of work they put into developing a dish before it gets put onto their menus. Even if a dish does make it onto a menu, they still work at refining it. The problem with Tender Trap is that there doesn't seem to be much thought put into their dishes.

In the few times I've had food that would fall under the molecular gastronomy umbrella, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It just opens up the eyes (and all the other senses) to the possibilities of food. It's not the type of thing that I could eat on even a monthly basis, but as something to have once a year, it's great. As for the restaurant trade, it's the ideas from the cutting edge that eventually filter down to everyone else. For example, Adria's foams used to seem exotic, but now they're everywhere.

Anyway, another Melbourne restaurant that delves into the world of molecular gastronomy is Vue de Monde (www.vuedemonde.com.au).

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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  • 2 weeks later...
Read it.... My point exactly. Don't get me wrong there is definetely a place for molecular gastronomy and molecular restaurants but it has to be done properly.

Anyone who reads the books by Adria, Blumenthal, and Achatz would know the amount of work they put into developing a dish before it gets put onto their menus. Even if a dish does make it onto a menu, they still work at refining it. The problem with Tender Trap is that there doesn't seem to be much thought put into their dishes.

In the few times I've had food that would fall under the molecular gastronomy umbrella, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It just opens up the eyes (and all the other senses) to the possibilities of food. It's not the type of thing that I could eat on even a monthly basis, but as something to have once a year, it's great. As for the restaurant trade, it's the ideas from the cutting edge that eventually filter down to everyone else. For example, Adria's foams used to seem exotic, but now they're everywhere.

Anyway, another Melbourne restaurant that delves into the world of molecular gastronomy is Vue de Monde (www.vuedemonde.com.au).

Exactly.... its all well and good to push boundaries but if a dish doesn't work it doesn't work. I often wonder how many chef's have actually eaten at the place they work or if they taste any of the food before it goes out...

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I liked what An has done at Gastropod in Vancouver. Emphasis on ingredients first, and then the proper technique to bring out the most.

I'd also recommend Paul Pairet at Jade On 36 in Shanghai. Again, the meal is the important thing, not showmanship.

But, for showmanship, is Paco Rancero still at the Casino in Madrid?

(edited for clarification)

At the start of the thread, Doc was looking for the "10 best". There was a good point later on, when people started breaking out those that were in the top for their influence on the art.

I like these three in that they're more of the Second (or Third?) wave of chefs that are thinking these things through.

Okay, I'm probably as fuddled as before.

Edited by Peter Green (log)
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But, for showmanship, is Paco Rancero still at the Casino in Madrid?

Yes, he is. He was also the coach for the Spanish team at the Bocuse D'Or 2009.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Exactly.... its all well and good to push boundaries but if a dish doesn't work it doesn't work. I often wonder how many chef's have actually eaten at the place they work or if they taste any of the food before it goes out...

In Eric Ripert's book, "On The Line", there's a chapter about developing new recipes. He gave two examples, one of which they put onto the menu with little modifications. In a second, iirc, they were trying to get the balance of flavours and textures right, spent about six months on it, but they couldn't get it to work so they ditched the dish.

But the other side of the argument is how and why customer responds to the food? From what I can gather, Tender Trap does pretty well. If Lethlean's review is right, do people who go to the restaurant simply like the quantity of the food, and don't really care about the quality of the cooking or how the components of the dish fit together? Even if you go to the high end of dining (like Melbourne's Vue de Monde), there would be diners who are there because "it's the place to be seen" and/or they're too intimidated to admit, "I don't get this dish" or "I don't like it". It's interesting to read in Heston Blumenthal's "Big Fat Duck" on how he tries to tie in his food to earlier eating experiences that his clients would have had - to give them a point of reference on the dishes they are about to enjoy.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Also in this month's Chicago Magazine there's a piece indicating that two restaurants -- Avenues and Graham Elliot -- now fall into this category:

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine...paving-Avenues/

Blais is "running" a burger joint called FLIP here in Atlanta. I was there Saturday and it was great. Not MG though even if the milkshakes are cooled with liquid N2.

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Exactly.... its all well and good to push boundaries but if a dish doesn't work it doesn't work. I often wonder how many chef's have actually eaten at the place they work or if they taste any of the food before it goes out...

In Eric Ripert's book, "On The Line", there's a chapter about developing new recipes. He gave two examples, one of which they put onto the menu with little modifications. In a second, iirc, they were trying to get the balance of flavours and textures right, spent about six months on it, but they couldn't get it to work so they ditched the dish.

But the other side of the argument is how and why customer responds to the food? From what I can gather, Tender Trap does pretty well. If Lethlean's review is right, do people who go to the restaurant simply like the quantity of the food, and don't really care about the quality of the cooking or how the components of the dish fit together? Even if you go to the high end of dining (like Melbourne's Vue de Monde), there would be diners who are there because "it's the place to be seen" and/or they're too intimidated to admit, "I don't get this dish" or "I don't like it". It's interesting to read in Heston Blumenthal's "Big Fat Duck" on how he tries to tie in his food to earlier eating experiences that his clients would have had - to give them a point of reference on the dishes they are about to enjoy.

I think that is a lack of knowledge on the part of the diner to say that it is bad. And I wonder if high end molecular dining should be reserved for people with a knowledge about food. Even high end dining in general. Apart from the really simple places (Savoy, Rockpool Bar & Grill, L'Ambroisie etc & their Eastern equivalents), I think that high end restaurants who begin to push boundaries should be left to the foodies (like most of us on here) and the uber rich (like possibly none of us on here!).

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I think that is a lack of knowledge on the part of the diner to say that it is bad. And I wonder if high end molecular dining should be reserved for people with a knowledge about food. Even high end dining in general. Apart from the really simple places (Savoy, Rockpool Bar & Grill, L'Ambroisie etc & their Eastern equivalents), I think that high end restaurants who begin to push boundaries should be left to the foodies (like most of us on here) and the uber rich (like possibly none of us on here!).

I think you get into a very messy area if you start talking about who can or cannot go to certain restaurants. Certainly for myself, I was hopelessly out of my depth the first few times I went to high end restaurants.

I suppose the point I was trying to make in my previous post (probably a bit clumsily) is that there are people who feel obliged to enjoy something simply due to price and/or reputation. And then there are those will be happy just as long as they've got a big pile of food in front of them, no matter how good or bad it is. :biggrin:

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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I think that is a lack of knowledge on the part of the diner to say that it is bad. And I wonder if high end molecular dining should be reserved for people with a knowledge about food. Even high end dining in general. Apart from the really simple places (Savoy, Rockpool Bar & Grill, L'Ambroisie etc & their Eastern equivalents), I think that high end restaurants who begin to push boundaries should be left to the foodies (like most of us on here) and the uber rich (like possibly none of us on here!).

I think you get into a very messy area if you start talking about who can or cannot go to certain restaurants. Certainly for myself, I was hopelessly out of my depth the first few times I went to high end restaurants.

I suppose the point I was trying to make in my previous post (probably a bit clumsily) is that there are people who feel obliged to enjoy something simply due to price and/or reputation. And then there are those will be happy just as long as they've got a big pile of food in front of them, no matter how good or bad it is. :biggrin:

I was actually really worried about that. What I'm trying to say is that before eating at a high end complex restaurant such as Gagnaire, an inexperienced restaurant goer should eat at somewhere that is a little simpler like Savoy.

Its kind of like drinking wine. You need to start with a lesser, simpler wine to understand it before aiming for the Petrus, Latour or Margaux. At least that way when you finally get to the Gagnaire's of the world you really appreciate how technically brilliant it is.

Anyone can eat at a high end restaurant. I'd love for more people to do it i.e everyone. I'd just love them to really appreciate the simple & sublime first before eating at the boundary pushers.

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Anyone can eat at a high end restaurant. I'd love for more people to do it i.e everyone. I'd just love them to really appreciate the simple & sublime first before eating at the boundary pushers.

And/but sometimes eating at the "boundary-pushers" intensifies one's appreciation of the simple

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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. And I wonder if high end molecular dining should be reserved for people with a knowledge about food.

I was actually really worried about that. What I'm trying to say is that before eating at a high end complex restaurant such as Gagnaire, an inexperienced restaurant goer should eat at somewhere that is a little simpler like Savoy.

Maybe you were right the first time around. I stumbled upon this review of Vue de Monde, and it's all a bit, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore". I don't know how anyone could be so keen to go to a restaurant, spend so much money at it, and yet not realise what food it serves before going there....."We were expecting modern French food. We were in for a very rude surprise."

http://ezinearticles.com/?Vue-De-Monde---I...rous&id=1237869

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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And/but sometimes eating at the "boundary-pushers" intensifies one's appreciation of the simple

A couple of years ago, we had booked in for Vue de Monde for my birthday. But in the weeks leading up to the date, we cancelled as I just wanted something simpler - and we went to a French bistro instead. The prospect of a 7 courses of cutting edge food over 5 hours just didn't appeal as much as a simple steak frites.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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The Los Angeles Times just awarded four stars to the new Jose Andres restaurant out there:

In the midst of this gloomy restaurant climate, the Bazaar arrives like fireworks bursting in the night. Bite by bite, the restaurant delivers an intoxicating magic.

http://www.latimes.com/theguide/restaurant...2650,full.story

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 1 month later...

O's near Denver, Colorado, definitely makes the cut as a must-visit. I was there last night and was very impressed:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=123222

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My understanding of O's menu is that its not a molecular restaurant, but rather, one that serves MG styled food on certain days and only for the tasting menu. Do they integrate MG into the rest of the menu? ... reminds me of Niche in St. Louis.

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I don't know Niche, but the regular menu at Os reminded me a lot of One Midtown Kitchen under Richard Blais (report here). If you're looking for molecular touches, they're all over:

  • Strawberry Yuzu with Frozen Olive Oil
  • New York with Soy Grilled Mushroom Kabob and Candy Garlic Butter
  • Seared Barramundi with Tempura Banana, Grilled Pineapple and Ponzu
  • Southern Peach with Merlot Caviar and Frozen Thyme
  • Half Dozen Oysters with Green Olive Citron Cocktail and Mojo Jelly
  • Romaine Hearts with Caesar Dressing and Fried Capers

Dave Scantland
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dscantland@eGstaff.org
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Eat more chicken skin.

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My understanding of O's menu is that its not a molecular restaurant, but rather, one that serves MG styled food on certain days and only for the tasting menu.  Do they integrate MG into the rest of the menu? ... reminds me of Niche in St. Louis.

My meal at Niche a couple of months ago was pretty straightforward. If there was much m.g. influence at play, it was disguised/hidden awfully well.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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and that's why I asked the question - their website doesn't give the menu, they simply refer to their certain days MG tasting menu. And that's how Niche does it - they offer an MG influenced tasting menu but the rest of the menu is not MG. So you would classify O's as MG then?

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