The 2018 Netflix documentary Salt Fat Acid Heat was not just an eye boggling four-part series that chronicled what makes food taste so good. It changed the generic formula of a woman helming a cooking show and had chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travelling the globe.
While Nosrat has dropped a few recipes (her buttermilk marinated roast chicken is really delicious), they are not the generic kind that promises “excellent results in just 20 minutes”. It encourages one to take his time to prepare the food and to “really rub the spices and seasoning in just like a massage” on the meat.
If the culinary journey one is on starts with instant noodles and ends with one-pot pastas, these nine restaurants going the extra mile (some, quite literally) to make their food jingle one’s taste buds, would prove to be inspirational.
AGNOLOTTI — BAR CICHETI
10: The number of hours it takes to braise the grass-fed beef cheek used in the dish — the process involves braising the beef cheek in a vegetable stock for ten hours, hand-shredding it, cooking it with its own jus and then blending it.
Two: The number of days it takes to prepare the dish.
Three: The number of the Agnolotti’s accompaniments — parmigiana stuffed pasta and a simple butter sauce cooked using pasta water and butter, and a drizzle of beef jus.
CRUSTY LAMB RACK — KINKI
One: The number of days spent to wet-age the Australian lamb chops in a koji yeast brine for maximum tenderness.
Four: The number of steps used to create this dish — wet-ageing, searing to render excess fat off, a generous coating of panko and mentaiko, and finally, baking to retain its tender meat on the inside.
Two: Two kinds of ginger give a twist to the dish — the crusty lamb rack is tossed in a house made ginger dressing and topped with dehydrated ginger slices cooked in sugar syrup for heat and sweetness.
DUCK CONFIT — SO FRANCE
Four: The number of ingredients used in the marinade (salt, orange zest, star anise and thyme) and the number of hours for said marination.
18 & 72: The former, how long the duck is confit for and the latter, the exact temperature at which it is confited.
Three: The accompaniments and seasonings of the duck confit — tender and sweet roasted Grenaille poatoes, mesclun salad and espelette pepper (a mildly spicy chilli pepper cultivated in the French commune of Espelette).
FEGATO D’OCA — ZAFFERANO
24 & 3: The former, how long the whole piece of foie gras is cured for in a marinade of salt, fresh orange peel, sugar and white vermouth and three, the number of days depending on its size before it is cooked sous vide, sieved and shaped.
92 & 2: 92 is the temperature in degree celcius of which the red reboot is pickled and the latter, the number of hours it is pickled in a juice of white wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey and water — the final step before it is made into a gel that coats the foie gras.
10 & 15: The length of cooking time to create the vincotto (cooked wine) — a mix of fresh raspberries cooked in hour and juiced beetroot pulp.
GOAT CHEESE — THE BUTCHER’S WIFE
Two: The number of weeks it takes for Mariana Campos, the head chef, to produce the cheese that uses fresh goats’ milk and kefir grains.
100: The percentage of which this cheese is local, from the goat farm where the raw goat’s milk is sourced to the honey used —13 Honey, a local honey company that sources from their own bee farms.
HANDMADE TORTELLINI — RIVIERA FORLINO
Seven: The number of hours the lamb shoulder is cooked Moroccan Tangia-style — slow cooked in a clay pot — with housemade preserved lemons, thyme, cumin, shallots, garlic, sour cream and parmesan.
One: The number of month it takes to preserve the lemons in the wine cellar of Riviera Forlino.
Three: The accompaniments of the lamb shoulder that involves wrapping it in handmade pasta and the two toppings of saffron and goat cheese cream.
HAY AGED DUCK (CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE BOARD) — BARBARY COAST BALLROOM
Seven: The number of days it takes to brine the duck and to dissolve some of its muscle fibers, which also helps to reduce the toughness of the meat.
One: The whole day it takes to rinse the now-brined duck to reduce its saltiness.
Eight: The number of hours it takes to smoke the duck in hay that imparts a beautiful, earthy flavour.
WAGYU TRI-TRIP — LEVEL33
5 to 7: The number of days it takes to age the Australian beef in fermented koji that has been dehydrated and blended.
Three: The accompaniments of the wagyu tri-tip — onions a la grecque (simmered onions in wine, vinegar, salt, spices and aromatics), pepper sauce and veal jus made from LeVeL33’s housemade stock.