TETSUYA’S, PART 1

“What are we going to talk about for three hours?”

“I don’t know. We probably shouldn’t have spoken to each other this week.”

“Yeah.”

The car shifts gears uncomfortably.

“Welcome to Tetsuya’s.”

“Thank you! Thank you so much!”

“Dan, please show them to Table 2.”

“Here we are, not far to travel, can I take your coats?”

“Yes please, thank you.”

“Welcome to Tetsuya’s, have you dined with us before?”

“I have, it’s Faith’s first time.”

“My first time!”

“Lovely. Well, I’ll quickly explain the menu. It’s nine or ten courses, which change seasonally; five seafood courses, then we move on to the meat and finally, the dessert courses. Your sommelier will be with you shortly to explain the wine list, would you like to start with oysters?”

“None for me!”

“I will, thank you.”

“Will you try the wine pairing today?”

“Yes, please, I absolutely will.”

“And for you? Would you like to see the list of non-alcoholic beverages?”

“No thank you, I’ll just have fizzy water thank you.”

“Of course.”

“You’re not going to order a Fire Engine?”

“Not yet… I can’t eat oysters in front of people. It’s a real phobia you know.”

“Could you eat them at home, just with me?”

“No. Well, I would eat them at home, but not with you there.”

“Sir, the Tamano Hikari Tokusen Junmai Ginjo Sake, from Kyoto in Japan – this is the second highest grade of sake.”

“Thank you. These oysters are delicious…”

“My hands are clammy.”

“First up, Tetsuya’s savoury custard, with Avruga caviar.”

Barely-set, the custard wobbles nervously on our small bamboo spoons, mother’s milk in both its whoosh of umami and the immediate impression that life would be nothing without having tasted it. The slippery, salty shot is spectacular and the bar is set high above us.

“Ooooohhh, I wonder if Tets made this in the Thermomix?”

“Maybe there’s a recipe on one of the forums?”

“Probably, let’s google later.”

“Your next seafood course is a carpaccio of snapper with umeboshi.”

“That’s so pretty! I reckon I could make this, too.”

“Pardon me. Your 2013 Charteris The Hunt Vineyard Riesling from Central Otago, on the South Island of New Zealand.“

“Would you have sex with him?”

“No.”

“Those snake hips, oh… I WOULD.”

“Ok.”

The white fish is diaphanous and opalescent, made even prettier with its garnish of micro-herbs. It is sweet and as fleshy as your mouth, only cooler, and zesty with umeboshi.

“I’m sorry to interru-”

“Noooo, not at alllll…”

“Now, the 2013 Henschke Jospeh Hill Gewürztraminer, from Eden Valley in South Australia.”

“Mmmmmm, delicious, thank youuuu…”

“He’s very serious.”

“You know what they say about serious men…”

“Do I?”

“Your next course is marinated scampi with walnut oil and frozen egg. How is everything so far?”

“Oh it’s amazing. I love it!

The small stack of scampi is sticky and slimy and skids away under cutlery. An escalation of the snapper, it’s fishy and weird, but completely wonderful.

“What a lovely way to spend your Saturday afternoon – perfect food, perfect company…”

“Look, the food has been perfect. The company? Well, I’m just saying, if there’s a table that needs someone new I’m happy to move.”

“I won’t lie, I’ve found her disappointing.”

To be continued…

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