Birthday bashes

Sometimes in life you just don’t really have time for a birthday.

It’s always been the way- November tends to be the time of exams, in whatever guise they come, the time of major projects trying to be tied up before everyone checks out into a champagne soaked summer.

I’ve been incredibly slack in so many ways lately. There hasn’t been a lot of writing going on. Even more basic than that, there hasn’t been a lot of cooking going on.

Welcome to the land of the Wednesday meal:

Bulgogi on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce with a fried egg and chilli on top.

Quickest meat to cook ever. Quickest dinner ever.

Add some quickly zapped edamame before hand and a glass of rose and it almost makes the day bareable. But it doesn’t to me really seem like it’s bloggable.

So the good food in our life hasn’t been coming from my kitchen lately.

Saturday’s birthday dinner at Becasse took care of most.

The second course took care of most. A salad of swimmer crab, confit ocean trout, pomegranate seed, with bisected red grapes (looking kookily like slivers of radish) forming a ring of rosiness around the heavenly mound. Underneath a silky soft almond gazpacho and nestling top, a round of yellow tomato and olive oil sorbet.

It was, in all honesty, the best thing I’ve eaten all year.

There was texture galore, sweetness but a touch of piquancy, it was beautiful to look at… It may have been the birthday sentiment. It may have been the 2006 Pieropan Soave that went with it. It may have been the exhaustion of the last couple of weeks. But eating it I got a bit misty.

The cheese menu at Becasse deserves an entry all of its own. It deserves a visit to Becasse all on its own. I now so firmly believe that Cheese deserves it’s own menu that I’m tempted to start a facebook club for it. If only I knew how.

On the menu, with the names and a little bio were 12 stunning sounding specimens. You could order four, eight or 12. We felt restraint, for once in our lives and only ordered four. But this was the bonus course in a menu of ten others.

When it came there was this beautiful, un prescriptive, choose your own adventure mix and match of the cheeses on a plate with an escher like tower of apple slivers, house made crispbread, and an allspice tinged walnut bread, that if it was delivered, toasted, smothered in butter and with a mug of earl grey tea to my bedside in the morning would make me more than misty, it would make me weep.

There were other highlights- the blood orange granita that went with the cardamom scented pannacotta was a sweetly astringent delight.

The lemon and rose geranium sorbet that accompanied the vanilla creme brulee with honey poached rhubarb was all the wistful childhood memories of icecream and wandering through your grandfather’s garden rolled into a scoop.

It was a slight pity that the dessert choices rolled from cream to cream to cream.

To follow the pannacotta the other choice was strawberries and cream with yoghurt and white chocolate ice cream. Beautiful, but all together it was a heavy end to what had been a rather heavenly progression.

I’d heard from others comments about the service at Becasse, but I have to say, for us it was great- swift, considerate, not too cool, both in the “groovy” and frosty interpretations of the term.

It was the first time we’d been to the ‘new’ Becasse, having taken people there many a time when it was in Surry Hills.

The noise levels are so cleverly constrained by the waved ceilings and heavy drapes and the tables are cleverly laid out so you never have to overhear the patter from those across the room.

In a month or so of chaos, being held hostage for 4 hours and wading through 11 courses, plus petit fours seemed like the perfect way to make time to sit back and smell the rose geranium sorbet… and all else that is good.

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