Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bianco Nero

Bianco Nero (Closed)
61 Main Street
Cambridge, Ontario

We learned about this restaurant from the dining guide section on "the Record" (KW local newspaper). What caught our attention is that chef Todd Enright has been trained at "Langdon Hall, Stratford Chefs School, Michael Stadtlander and Susur Lee".

I had "pan seared foie gras with French lentil salad and kumquat-maple jus" to start, J had "some kind of fruity/vegi sorbet" (maybe tomato? I don't remember) w/ yellow bell pepper water". The foie gras was delicious and flavorful, it went so well with the fruity jus. Lentils got intense maple flavor and the texture was just right. I was expecting to taste some "kick" from kumquat rind but it feels more like tangerine; the chef had tone it down a lot. But I am sure this is within his calculation. The dish J had was extremely subtle, especially after tasting my own foie gras. However, the yellow pepper water was amazing. We just happened to see Michael Smith in "Chef at Home" making tomato water that week. It was such a pain-staking process and now we now why some people are willing to do so.

After cleaning out the appetizers, we couldn't wait to taste our mains. I had pan-fried roast duck breast with duck confit crepe (I am sure this dish has a more elegant name on the menu than my description). J had "bison served two ways". I actually asked whether or not they left the skin on before ordering that duck dish. To me, serving pan-fried duck breast without the crispy skin is a CRIME. The duck breast was thinly sliced with the skin attached. The plating was simple yet every ingredient was prepared in an impeccable form. I had a bit of the bison, it was also properly done. But I was so busy in digging in my own dish that I don't remember much about the bison.

The dessert menu is quite a show; every item seems so interesting. I had "Creme Brulee trio - vanilla, lime and lavender, and espresso" and J had "lemon tart with pine nut crust and mascarpone-honey ice cream". Both are nice but I am a creme brulee fanatic so my vote goes to creme brulee. I am glad that they didn't add too much lavender, otherwise the dessert might become too savory/herbal. It was very refreshing. I love coffee so I had a great time working through the espresso flavor. But I have to admit that the espresso is the least exciting among the three (It was still nicely done though). In my opinion, the one actually shows the true strength of the (pastry) chef is the vanilla flavor. It was flawless - creamy texture, rich vanilla flavor, a layer of thin yet solid cameralized sugar. The cream was well chilled while the sugar was lukewarm... couldn't be any more perfect than this.

Overall, I am surprised about how simple and harmonious the dishes are, considering he's been trained at Stratford Chefs School and Susur before. (I thought it would be fancy and edgy). J joked that we should definitely come back since nowadays we can rarely find any restaurant we don't have much to complain about. Well, since he puts it that way, the service is OK. And I hope next time the chef can drop by and explain his work/vision to us, not just to the blonde beauties two tables from ours. j/k

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