Thursday, January 15, 2015

is there a way to tell a chef that you didn't like his food?

© Joselito Briones
norie and i are visiting irma in jakarta - part of norie's birthday celebration, i guess.  eager to show us the city, irma invited us to dine at skye restaurant atop one of the tallest buildings in the city.  

the view was great and all, but i thought the food was heavy-handed (tom kha soup was heavily coconut cream, the galangal flavor was totally defeated, the seafood in it barely noticeable - as if the chef was totally aware of it, he added bits of dry seaweed to remind the diner that it really was meant to be a seafood dish, which only muddied the flavor;  the braised pork, which is meant to be a house specialty, was waaaay too sweet and the caramelization crossed (and went way past) the line to burnt bitterness; and although the flavors in the crispy pork belly was good, the pork rind wasn't crispy at all. (we were told that pork dishes are hard to come by in this city for religious reasons, so we thought we should have them when they're available)

i would have been content to ignore it all, of course, the view and the company having been more than enough to enjoy the evening - except, well, when it was all over, on the way down from the restaurant, in the lift that clearly displayed a poster photo of the restaurant's chef, irma noticed his striking resemblance to one of the lift passengers. "you look like that guy," she said to the passenger, pointing at the chef's poster-photo. "that's me," he answered, smiling. chit chat ensued, and then the inevitable happened:  he asked us if we enjoyed the food.


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