Foodie adventures On Invitation

Chef's kitchen with Chef Stefan Borchadt

Tuesday, February 19, 2013Me! In words

Moevenpick recently launched their rooftop Sky Brew biere club. As part of the media launches, we were invited to a chef's table with Chef Stefan Borchardt, a German national who has extensive experience in the Orient, the Americas and is now executive chef at the Moevenpick, Hotel Jumeirah Beach property in Dubai (an interview with him sometime next week) . He came down on a 10-day stint to help set up the kitchen gear up for some great German food to go along with your choice of beer. The menu for the day was set and as is a Moevenpick standard - every recipe was demonstrated and served straight off the fire.

Chef Stefan Borchardt setting up

Every table had a stand of pretzels and I asked for a mug of beer... can't go wrong

The first course was an appetiser - Potato cakes with smoked salmon and dill cream - a rosti you could say, which was crispy and definitely not greasy. The cold dill cream was a nice accompaniment to the hot potatoes and you just can't go wrong with smoked salmon. Overall, my palate could have used a bit more of the seasoning but that is just me. 

Chef Stefan prepping his dill cream

Reibekuchen mat Geräucherte Lachs und dill-sahne - 
Potato cakes with smoked salmon and dill cream

While the first course was being served, Chef Stefan was busy whisking a steaming pot on the fire. On closer look it a batch of bechamel sauce that had finely (I mean really finely) chopped parsley added to it. The lovely green color had even the tummy stand to attention, when we saw him heat up a pan with a bit of butter and plop in a few scallops in there, we were nothing short of rubbing our hands together in glee.

The sauce forms a really heavy base to the scallop and is delicious when eaten together. Since Chef was extremely generous with the sauce, we all helped ourselves to the pretzels on the stand to mop up the sauce. The substantial quantity had me leave some behind. I did after all want some space for the next course which was already on the stove top back there.

Petersilienmus mit Jacobsmuschel - Parsley mousseline with scallops

While the course was being prepared, we took a walk around the terrace. Sky Brew is on the 12th floor and gets a lovely breeze despite being in the middle of a busy area. The view is spectacular and the setting is dim. A romantic date over a beer is quite the possibility here. (yes, yes, I know wine would be your first choice on a date.. but come on... its different!!)

The view of Sky Brew as you enter

The lovely cask-table seating - there are also comfy bean bags
and school style benches and tables

The view from Sky Brew

The next course was the Nuremberg sausages served with a typically German dish called the Spatzles - a concoction made of eggs, salt and flour that is then passed through a large holed sieve and into boiling salted water till it comes to the surface. In this case, Chef Stefan finished the spatzles by tossing it in some butter, and parsley. The sausages were cooked and brought to the table where it continued to simmer on a bunsen burner. The idea is behind is more of communal eating when out to have a good time. There was some fresh sweet mustard on the table and this added a nice touch to the dish.

The Spatzles in the pan

The sausages on the bunsen burner

Spatzles are best enjoyed when they are steaming hot. If you stop to chat like all of us were doing, you could end up having some great sausages with the spatzles going a bit soggy on you. So don't do what I did. I managed however to make up for letting it go cold but adding on some more of the sausage stock and soaking it up. 

Chef joined us at our table for a while at this point, of course with a mug of beer. He told us of how it was a custom back home to initiate young boys into the tradition of beer drinking - and when I say young boys, I am talking about infants being given a pinky finger dipped in beer to suck on for a while. Now this is one initiation ceremony that ensures a good night sleep for mother and baby. Why didn't someone tell me - I had a night baby... and 6 years on.. I still do toilet runs at 3 in the morning.

Saure Zipferl mit Spätzle - Nürnberger sausage with Spätzle

As with every meal, this too ended on a sweet note - it has to be when you are being served Moevenpick ice cream with a berry compote, key here being the Moevenpick ice-cream. Throughout this meal, the dishes were served in plates that were truly a sight. Large (ensuring the huge portions) and for my photographs, the perfect set up. The dessert bowls were the best - just take a look at them down there.

Rote Grütze mit Zimt-sahne and Mövenpick Eiskrem - Mixed summer berry compote with cinnamon whipped cream and Mövenpick icecream

As he was plating up the dessert, Chef Stefan explained to us how the changing seasons can have an effect on the kind of milk and consequently cream that comes from the cows that are the source for Moevenpick icecreams. I felt like I had left my palate behind in the stone ages when he said that he could taste an icecream and tell you which season the milk came from!!

And towards the end of the meal, Chef came around and handed each one of us an edible diploma for our participation in the Chef's Table. It was a giant sized pretzel on a red ribbon. My graduation ceremony back when I completed my Masters should have had something like this... what fun that would have been.

Thank you Monika Manchanda for capturing my "diploma" moment

When the micro-brewery part of the operations opens soon, Sky Brew will work well for those who just want to get away from the noise of the city and make some of their own with friends. The setting on the rooftop is great and nothing can bring camaraderie to the fore like some good grub and beer.

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