Sherman's Food Adventures: AnnaLena


Okay, here we are with a new post since the end of June.  I decided to take a bit of time off to relax in July.  So we haven't been back to AnnaLena for quite some time and we decided to try out their tasting menu.  In fact, this is all they serve these days and it is a good strategy to keep costs predictable and to streamline their inventory (as well as their operations).  Now this tasting menu was for the month of July (as they change every month).  Not that applicable for people reading this post in August, but you get the idea of their food.  We got to sit at their most awesome table right at the front enjoying all the fresh air and natural light.

We were started off with an Amuse Bouche that was a lamb croquette with dungeness crab on top with a hint of curry.  This was a rather large bite to eat in one go, but for me, I managed with no problem.  It was lightly crisp on the outside with a tender and delicate interior.  The hit of lamb was a the very end while the crab hit right away with its fluffy texture and hint of curry.  A great beginning to the meal!

For our first dish, we had the Summer Beet & Cherry Salad with burrata and maple hazelnut granola.  I found this refreshing and pleasant first dish of the meal.  The beets were tender while still retaining a bite.  A nice tang complimented the earthiness of the beets while the sweet cherries offered up balance.  I absolutely love burrata and the small dollop on the plate was fresh where it was creamy with some stringiness.

Next up was a variation of an AnnaLena classic - Torn Brioche with wakame mussel vin blanc, ramps and trout roe.  I said it before and I'll say it again, I absolutely love this dish, but would've preferred the mussels be left in the shell (also more of it too).  Besides that, the sauce was so aromatic and creamy where the awesome fluffy bread was the perfect vessel to soak it up.  The contrasting crispiness of the exterior was a textural delight.

On par, in terms of deliciousness with the previous dish, I loved the Potato Ricotta Cannelotti with onion jus, crème fraîche and guanciale.  The fresh hand-made pasta was beautifully al dente with a firm chew.  Inside, the tender and flavourful potato ricotta filling was accented by the fatty saltiness of the guanciale.  Silky and naturally sweet, the onion jus was able to adhere to the pasta ensuring layers of flavour.

Onto the meat of the meal, we were served the 63 Acre Beef Bavette with charred gai lan, morels, miso eggplant and madeira jus.  As pictured, the beef was perfectly medium-rare, hence it was juicy and tender.  I love morels and it was nice to see it intermingle with the flavourful jus and fermentness of the miso eggplant.  Lots of umaminess and earthy tones in this dish.

For dessert, we had the Blackberry & Yuzu Paris Brest with toasted oat ice cream.  I enjoyed how this was plated as it was pleasing to the eye.  The fresh berries and the yuzu provided both sweetness and tang.  Very refreshing and light.  Loved the crunch of the meringues with every bite.  The choux could've been a touch lighter, but it was fine.  Creamy and melting fast (which is a good thing), the ice cream was lightly sweet and aromatic.

The final item we had was a pair of cute Tonka Bean Cake with black salt.  A nice little morsel to end the meal.  The cake itself was in between light and dense, so I guess it satisfies a wide range of tastes.  I enjoyed it and the hit of black salt gave it a bit of a punch.  In general, the tasting menu at AnnaLena was pleasant and well-prepared.  Loved that they included a classic dish as well.  Service was on point too.  Price is fair at $88.00 per person. 

The Good:
- Well-executed food
- Excellent service
- Good pacing

The Bad:
- Maybe not enough for bigger appetites


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