Bread with garlic butter
The bread had a surprisingly good flavor, although it was a little on the dry side. I love garlic butter but the garlic to butter ratio was tipped way too much towards the garlic side, plus the garlic was also raw and retained that very sharp, pungent taste; strangely, I found myself going back for more… Okay
Foie gras mousse, chicken crackers, sherry gel and herb salad
Placing a strong emphasis on contrasts, this starter consisted of a cube of foie gras, contrasted by a pureed foie gras mousse, crisp chicken skin as well as a crisp meringue. Sweetness and acidity provided by the sherry gel and dates compressed in sherry vinegar. It was a sound dish that worked on many levels, cold/warm, crisp/soft, acidity/sweetness/unctuousness. I thought it was a pity because if the foie used had a better flavor, the dish would have been incredible, nevertheless, the addition of roasted chicken skin was brilliant and rounded off a well thought out dish. Good
BBQ pulled pork, apple sauce, pork skin, spinach and mash potatoes
We quickly moved onto mains with this pork dish, the pork belly was cooked sous vide for 48 hours in cider, whose flavor tied in nicely with the apple sauce. I personally think that the addition of pulled pork in any dish can only make it better, but the BBQ flavor did add a sweet richness that cut through the acidity of the apple sauce expertly. The pork skin, which cannot be crisped up effectively after being cooked sous vide, was instead removed before cooking, and turned into a Chicharrón, this is something I do as well when I cook salmon(remove the skin and crisp it up in the oven while I SV the fish). Criticisms are that the mash could have used a little more butter and the dish was slightly lacking in sauce. Good-Very good
Tender chunks of 48 hour poached beef cheek in a twice cooked goulash sauce with confit potatoes, radish, mushrooms and mirepoix with a big chunk of home made bread
I’m not entirely sure why this had to be cooked twice, my guess would be that the cheek was cooked sous vide, then reheated in the goulash sauce to warm through and soak up its flavor. This was reminiscent of half the meals I hate in eastern Europe, it hit the key flavors for me, namely the smokiness of the paprika and sweet/tartness from the tomato paste. Not terribly inspiring or innovative, but a classic dish updated with a modern cooking method. Okay-Good
Jelly n ice cream
Chocolate poached in liquid nitrogen, strawberry jelly
One of the main reasons why I came to the restaurant in the first place, this turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the night. The main attraction of this was a 66% Valrhona chocolate mousse dunked into liquid nitrogen, then plated with raspberry gel, coconut cream, and chocolate sponge cakes. This is very reminiscent of the Alinea dessert that is plated onto the table itself. Cold foods tend to lose the intensity of flavor and that was exactly what happened with the frozen chocolate mousse, after the smoke had settled, what we were left with was an overall bland-ness; the most prominent flavor on the tongue was the tart strawberry jelly(which was actually very nicely made), I did like the crisp dehydrated chocolate cake as well. Okay
I enjoyed my meal at Garden of Eden, I’ll say I enjoyed it as much as Keystone, although I found Keystone to have more interesting food in terms of flavors, the food at Garden of Eden felt much better executed and a more complete/refined overall product. To be honest, Garden of Eden serves the kind of food that I would serve if I had my own restaurant. You get a strong sense that although the restaurant has been given a ‘modern cuisine’ title, the chefs understand the strengths and limitations of cooking methods being used, and this comes with experience and familiarity with equipment and cooking techniques. Unfortunately, the irony is that the one dish I wasn’t crazy about was one that employed the most modern of techniques- liquid nitrogen, which was the main reason why I was drawn to the restaurant in the first place.
While it is unfair to classify this as a restaurant that is truly pushing the food boundaries, since the menu sticks to classic flavor profiles- Foie and fruit, Apple and pork, goulash, an update through texture and workflow is always welcome, especially when it is done in an intelligent and well thought out manner; it is about taking a dish and refining it, altering it so that looks or feels different, but tastes familiar.
The food was a little on the pricey side, but well portioned and worth the money. For some reason they aren’t listed on Hungrygowhere, and the Maitre’d mentioned that they had intentionally removed their listing, don’t let this deter you from visiting, and be sure to note down the address, the restaurant is not well marked and you could easily walk past it multiple times without realising, trust me, I know.