I heard wonderful things about Ze Kitchen Gallery. Asian influenced and one star Michelin holder. I remembered so positively my visit to their “sister” restaurant called “KGB” (Kitchen Gallery Bis) about a year earlier. I think it got my hopes pretty high. The dinner this time had it’s ups and downs.
I’ll start with the ambiance – colorful and casual. It did not make sense to me together with the cold staff of waiters (maybe too casual?). Right next to us there was a window looking over the kitchen, and I could see two stagiers of LCB and maybe one other commis working there. The tasting menu of 82 euro includes 7 tasting dishes. We came running to the restaurant like crazy to be there on time for the tasting menu so we felt obligated to go with it.
The meal started with an Amuse of Pink Radish and Green Radish Thinly Sliced Raw and served with Cod Cream and Olives. I have to admit this is a weird start. Something I would have liked more in a simple restaurant. Then the wine we ordered arrived. Domain Ostertag, Alsace, Pinot Blanc 2011, to go with a seafood and Asian oriented dinner it was a good match.
The courses of the meal we sampled:
- Avocado, Green Asparagus, Blanched Shrimps, Daikon, Ginger, Galangal and Wassabi Sauce – A really nice strong start to the meal which set a high note to begin with. The shrimp cooked perfectly and the sauce was really unique. I liked how it’s a true fusion dish putting together some very flattering Asian and Western ingredients in a new way.
- Coconut and Green Curry Thai Broth with Morel, Escargot, Potatoes, Candied Peanuts, Coriander Condiment. Beautiful plate of goodness. Everything clicked together (apart from the potatoes, can’t see what they are doing there). This was our favorite dish of the meal. The broth was extraordinary and the escargot with the curry sauce – genius. We couldn’t say if we’re eating morel mushroom (black and unique mushroom with a very short harvest season) or a snail because they looked similar at first, covered with the broth and bubbles, but in the mouth it was a nice surprise.
- Linguine, Grilled Squid “Pasta”, Thai Bouillabaisse and Nori Seaweed. Another excellent fusion dish. The pasta itself was just “nice” but the sauce and the squid were very nicely done. The seaweed was the twist that made this dish to the next level.
- Skate, Mini Turnip, Olives, Citrus Condiment, Radish and Cabbage. The plating of this dish seemed a bit too sloppy. I think for us this was the least favorite dish. After the very strong start we were expecting a climax but instead we felt this just didn’t reach the same level. Maybe because this dish leaned towards a more Provencal style rather than the Asian from the last courses.
- Three Variations of Chicken: Breast, Thigh and a Fried Chicken Ball “On The Bone”, White Raw Asparagus and Cooked Green Asparagus, Morel and Teriyaki Sauce. Nicely cooked and put together, I didn’t care for the Teriyaki sauce and ate without it. For me this wasn’t a successful fusion, but could be a great French dish without the sticky Teriyaki. I loved this little leg of chicken ball (and try to do my own version with a goat cheese filling) and the breast was sous-vide perfectly cooked with a crispy skin on top. I have to say I was a bit disappointed to get the chicken course and not a red meat course to end the meal with.
Then the desserts came to our table, and sadly, both arrived at the same time! Because there’s ice-cream in each, it bothered me not to be able to concentrate on one dessert at a time. Luckily I was positively surprised with the desserts, in KGB I thought they were the weak part of the meal, but here they were a strength.
- White Chocolate and Wassabi, Fresh Mango with Mango Sauce, White Meringue Biscuit. Wonderful dessert, light, fruity, fun and not too much. I couldn’t feel the wassabi so much though.
- Two Types of Valrhona Chocolate – Italian and one from the Dominican Republic, Miso Marmalade, Pistachio Tuile, Vanilla and Black Pepper Ice-cream. Loved it. A real fusion dessert with the miso marmalade and all the chocolates – just a treat! The best part of the dessert was the Black Pepper ice-cream. I tried my own version of it.
So finally I can say it was a wonderful dinner. We loved most of the dishes and I think the chef has mastered the way to a successful fusion. The things that drew me back a little bit: the waiters weren’t so nice, I would expect a higher level of service in a place like this and a willingness to explain more about the dishes. Also, in the end of the meal we felt really neglected for some reason.