Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Smoked.... or burnt?

Last night I took my wife out to dinner, to a nice place with one hat, to make up for the fact that she wasn't seeing her family at Christmas this year.  We shared a starter of grilled prawns and calamari with eggplant, it arrived and I dived in, partially due to the fact that we have become accustomed to eating at "kiddie time" (6pm), and partly because since moving from Sydney to Melbourne the one thing I've missed has been good seafood.  I immediately tasted what I describe as a burnt taste, the taste that goes through the entire dish after something has been burnt, and remains long after you remove the offending burnt pieces.  I tried another mouthful in the hope I was mistaken but got the same result.  I looked at my wife and could see she was wondering the same thing.  My nose was telling the same story.  Neither of us ate the dish, and when the waitress came over to ask how it was I explained that I thought it tasted and smelled burnt.  To the restaurant's credit, they did the "right thing" and removed the dish from our bill.

Later in our meal the waitress came back to explain that the dish wasn't burnt, but that the eggplant was smoked over the grill, and what I was tasting was the smoked eggplant flavour. Whilst I'm sceptical of this explanation and intend on taking a butane torch to an eggplant to see what the taste is, my real issue is that a taste that strong, like anchovies and olives, should be mentioned in the description on the menu.

Stay tuned for an update of my burnt eggplant testing!

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