Review_ a grape escape on the strand dinner cruise

Back when I was a young 20-something, with holier-than-thou ideals and second-hand Dr. Noodles and company eclub Martens, I’d have considered a US$140 six-course menu with six wine pairings to be a bit poncy. Menu noodles I mean, who really likes foie gras?

A drink on the upper deck of the Strand’s sister property, The Strand Cruise, is as close as most will get to being James Bond. Noodles and company medford Photos: Supplied

As it turns out, I do. Noodles and company lake mary I like foie gras. Noodles and company glenview And when it’s served with wild boar ravioli and Jerusalem artichoke mousse, I’ll gobble it down faster than a force-fed duck chokes on its food pipe.

I discovered this particular version aboard the Strand hotel’s swanky sister property, The Strand Cruise, at an exclusive event hosted by executive chef, Christian Martena, as a prelude to the hotel’s reopening in mid-November. Noodles and company menu with prices If the six-course preview menu is anything to go by, November can’t come soon enough.

We start with a Mediterranean tomato semblance served with basil coulis, stracciatella cream and a balsamic pearl. Noodles and company I’ve copied all this from the menu, obviously – I wouldn’t have the faintest clue what a tomato semblance was if it bit me in the armpit. Noodles and company kenwood Nevertheless, it tastes exactly like how I imagine the Mediterranean sun would taste if it were served on a plate with posh things drizzled over the top. King of noodles menu It’s served with a delightfully fruity Cape Spring 2014 Chenin Blanc – which the sommelier pours in heartbreakingly small amounts.

In addition to my recently acquired taste for artificially fattened duck livers, I’ve also come to learn that absolutely everything tastes good when served with truffles. Noodles and company austin Happily Martena seems to agree, as our next course is scarlett Spanish prawns (they say “prawns” – it was only one prawn. Noodles and company gift card But who’s counting?) with baby artichoke hearts, black truffle and truffle oil. Noodles and company havana It’s an exquisite dish and the nuttiness of the artichokes complement the earthy truffle flavours perfectly.

As if to tick off another box on the luxury foods list, it is followed by a caviar course. Noodles and company chapel hill The steamed asparagus with sea urchin sabayon (beats me), egg mimosa and oscietra caviar, is refreshingly mellow after the first two courses – perhaps a bit too mellow for my taste. Noodles and company high street It’s paired with a delicious, elegant Domaine William Fevre 2014 Chablis – and by now I’m grateful for the tiny servings.

Fine dining menus, with their minute portions and pretentious artistry, are often a bit soulless in my opinion. Noodles and company vancouver wa For all their fancy aesthetics, they lack a certain heartiness: like the guy who looks great on Tinder but spends all night talking about the gym. Noodles pho u menu Thankfully, Martena – who I’m convinced by now is some kind of wizard – evades this pitfall with his perilously rich wild boar and foie gras ravioli. Noodles and company jacksonville fl Served with a meaty Morel broth, it is enough to make me wince with pleasure. Noodles and company tempe An intensely aromatic, velvet-smooth 2008 Campone Brunello Maontalcino is the perfect accompaniment.

The final main course – and the final nail in the coffin of my withering ethics – is veal tenderloin with a pistachio crust and veal jus. Noodles and company annapolis I once went on hunger strike for a whole day because my mother dared to serve veal for Christmas dinner. Noodles & company menu prices Of course, that was before I discovered how bloody tasty it was, and Martena’s moist, mouth-watering offering does not disappoint. Noodles and company fair lakes As I scrape my plate clean, the server sweeps away my empty wine glass only to replace it with another decadent red – though by now everything is a bit hazy and I couldn’t tell you what it tasted like.

Desert didn’t quite sing for me. Noodles and company interview The “deconstructed” (read, “chucked in a glass”) fruit tart with Creme Anglaise seemed a bit of a cop-out after the other thoughtful dishes, and contained those maddening popping sugar crystals that became popular with “zany” chefs a few years ago, but are now just a clichéd attempt to jazz up a lacklustre desert. Noodles of the world menu What I did like, though, was the champagne it was served with – I drank two glasses just to be sure.

It hardly needs to be said that service is beyond excellent (this is the Strand, dahling). Noodles and company northville Plates and glasses are whisked away unnoticed and there’s none of that groping-around-in-your-crotch-with-napkins nonsense. Noodles and company 95th It might be pricy – beyond, even – at $140 per person, but in return you get a first class dining experience. Noodles restaurant recipes And did I mention the exceptionally good wine? Oh, I did.

Sadly, you’ll have to wait until the Strand’s Signature Restaurant opens in November before you can enjoy Martena’s wizardry, though there are whisperings of another preview event in August so keep your taste buds peeled. Noodles & company locations I feel sure he has even more culinary delights up his sleeve.