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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mir - Molecular Cuisine

Montreal has not up until now a decent molecular restaurant. The closest you can get in Montreal is Raza. If you know Heston Blumenthal, you can have a touch of his creations here at Mir. Konstantin is the head chef, used to work at the 3-Michelin stars restaurant The Fat Duck.

If you don't know about molecular cuisine, think of the kitchen as a science lab equipped with sophisticated tools. Years of experiments were done on food to understand its physical and chemical properties. When you go to these types of restaurant,  all your five senses are used, not only your taste. As you can see through the pictures posted below, you can see how each dish is presented with such great details. A common theme is food pairing where two unusual ingredients are combined to create a new and pleasant taste. These combinations are based on science, but not on intuition or recipes. Food pairing help chefs to concoct dishes that are at the same time unusual and artistic.

When entering the restaurant, it feels warm and inviting. The service was impeccable. The waiter and owner Jean-Louis was kind, very knowledgeable of the preparation details and concept of the dishes. We can say that we really enjoy our dining experience. Independently which dish you order, you won't regret it. You have to be there to enjoy the full experience.

Here are some dishes that I find exceptionally unique: 

The Green Eggs and Ham was an interesting appetizer, the star ingredient is the egg yolk that has been cooked exactly at 60 degrees for an hour. A slight deviations of 1 or 2 degrees change the texture of the egg yolk. The egg is cooked in an immersion circulator to ensure constant temperature throughout the cooking process. At 60 degrees, the egg yolk is unlike the texture of hard boiled egg nor the texture of a poached egg. The yolk was soft, silky, almost a custard-like texture. 

The Beef and Oyster is to die for... You might say what's so special about this beef, you can order in a steakhouse. Well... not really... it is the way that has been prepared and cooked to make it the juiciest steak ever. The beef is a 20-day aged Quebec strip loin, cooked sous-vide at 62 degrees with a little beef fat for about 10 mins, then rest it for 10 mins. The steak is pan seared with clarified butter, seasoned with vegetable ash rub. It is flipped every minute until it is cooked to the desired doneness. This ensures the juices to circulate evenly and maintain a constant temperature throughout the steak.

When one thinks of molecular cuisine, liquid nitrogen has to be involved. It is the case for the palate cleanser - a bergamot sorbet prepared with liquid nitrogen. Flavours are numerous and complex in this little bite, there is at least five ingredients that can be distinguished. Black pepper in a sorbet?  It surprisingly blends well with the bergamot, lavender, honey and pear. Weird combination, but it works!

Finally, the desserts, the tarte tatin served with blue cheese ice cream... I hate blue cheese, but combined with cream seems to tune down the strong taste of the cheese to make this ice cream pleasant to eat. The coffee dessert is a must order, a lot of components on a plate, all I can say is indulgent.

Green Eggs and Ham - Slow cooked duck egg, spinach and herb custard, prosciutto and bacon served with garlic crisp
Octopus and Lentil Salad - Butter poached octopus on red and green lentils 

Potatoes Three-Ways:  Horseradish and mustard potato purée, confit potato, cucumber salad, marinated cherry tomato, chive jelly.
Shrimp Three-Ways with Asparagus Salad
Beef and Oysters - beef strip loin, raw and smoked oysters, pea cream barley, marinated beet, horseradish mayo
Trout Salad - Confit trout on a bed of seasonal greens with a mixture of quinoa and buckwheat, braised fennel and pistachio crunch. The foam 

Trou Normand - Liquid nitrogen sorbet, Citrus bergamot with lavender infused honey, oat crunch, fresh pear and black pepper
Tarte Tatin - Pear and cranberry, sorbet of Elizabeth bio, honey oat and black pepper crumble, pear fluid gel, pickled pear
Coffee Dessert - coffee cream, meyer lemon financier, chocolate crunch, blackberries, a raspberry coulis, lemon fluid gel, dehydrated milk foam, a coffee butter powder
Dark chocolate exterior filled with a milk chocolate caramel and tonka ganache. Lemon fluid gel and sour cherry coulis

Mir
1181 avenue Union
Montreal, QC
H3B 3C3
514-508-1044
http://www.restaurantmir.com/
Mir on Urbanspoon

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