Saturday, August 12, 2006

Preposterous pretentious presentation.

Had dinner yesterday at Sketch in the Metropolitan Palace Hotel in Deira.

I ordered Beef Fillet, which was served with vegetables, potato wedges and an interesting-sounding chilli chocolate sauce.

Here's what it looked like...

The pretentious presentation is preposterous, but so many restaurants do it that way.

A message to chefs. You are spoiling the food. STOP IT!

Why do chefs, who supposedly understand food, stack the meat on top of potato wedges or other vegetables? How on earth can a chef worthy of the title do such a thing? Hot meat or fish on top of vegetables steams them and turns them soggy. It's basic common sense, a basic understanding of cookery.

And the vegetables, just look at them. Stupid tiny pieces less than one centimetre square.

The beef was excellent quality and cooked exactly as I ordered it. The chilli chocolate sauce had far too much sugar and not enough chilli for my taste, but overall the ingredients and cooking were excellent.

The problem was the stupid, stupid, stupid presentation.


nzm said...

I hope that you asked for more vegetables!

What was the pricing like?

trailingspouse said...

Why do restaurants these days never give you a decent portion of vegetables? That dish must be 95% meat - no wonder people are dying of heart disease. I bet the veggies (what there were of them) were cold too!

secretdubai said...

God that looks good - such a pity it's all the way in Deira.

Stinginess on the vegetables really does piss me off. They cost nearly nothing, and it's just promoting unhealthy eating not to provide a decent amount.

If the chef is going for a minimalist plate set up, then serve the vegetables in a separate side dish.

(Then you get restaurants like Vus that serve pretty much zero vegetables, and you have to order them on the side for like Dh55 for a tiny amount of mashed potato).

caz said...

Frankly, looks bloody awful. Chocolate Restaurants should adopt European practice of serving and charging for vegeable separate sauce with beef, Yuuuuuk!

halfmanhalfbeer said...

Seebee, I couldn't agree more. The presentation of that dish looks like a dogs dinner.

....and the vegetables, what a joke. As already has been said here before they should be served on the side not as some pathetic excuse of 'cubism'.

I don't mind the stacking thing as a rule, I think giving some height to food can help with the presentation but I would never do so over something that goes soggy.

If you are going to 'stack' then the base needs to be something that will be enhanced by the juices like rice (risotto) or something that is already slighty soft like a veg puree. Putting meat ontop of any fried or roasted potatoes is a big mistake.


halfmanhalfbeer said...

Sorry me again!

Also meant to add that the chocolate / chilli thing is an attempt at the famous mexican 'mole' sauce. However, the chocolate should be bitter, not sweet, and they usually use ancho (which are mild and a little sweet) or chipotle (which are hotter and slightly smoky) chillis to achieve the counterbalance between the flavours.

Seabee said...

nzm, that dish was Dh118

halfman, yes, stacking on rice or mashed potato is OK because that means it's enhanced, but not on something that's going to go soggy. And yes, the mole was what attracted me to it - but it was, I suspect, a bar of dark chocolate melted down with a pinch of chilli powder in it.

backin15 said...

I can't help but recall the scene from Black Books where Bernard demands Mannie reproduce his soup as a stack!

Felicity said...

Looks like a greying tarantula expired on the top of it too! What a hoot!I don't know why there is that trend to mix ingredients that don't go together (fusion!)and drizzle on sauces that you'd need a spatula to get off the plate! Those little vegetable sqaures all in a row suggest someone with too much time on their hands - and they must have been cold by the time they got to the table!

Seabee said...

Felicity, I'm not sure what the knitting on top was, I just lifted it to the side of the plate.

Yes, the 'fusion' thing is misunderstood by too many so-called chefs. They don't understand that they need to find flavours & textures that complement each other, they just take elements from different cuisines and arrange them in pretty patterns on the plate.