Menu for an exhibition
A response to Ragnar Kjartansson and Margaux Williamson
Tzavta, in Hebrew, means ‘together,’ ‘companionship’. It’s a word that carries a meaning so vivid, one can almost hear chatter, laughter, crackle, chewing and clinking; smell woodfire, cigarette smoke, faint sweat emanating from bodies close together; and taste herbs, charred vegetables, garlic, and fresh bread. An air of casual ease and a sense of camaraderie.
The idea of the Tzavta Salon was to create a room for conversation. To be inspired. As conversation needs intimacy and space to meander, we take our time. The evening starts with a shared meal. Each salon has a unique menu inspired by our speakers’ desires. After dinner, we forgo structure and allow participants to ask questions and let the conversation drift wherever it is taken.
For the first time, we’ve created a menu influenced by an exhibition, the pairing of Ragnar Kjartansson’s beautiful musical video installation and Margaux Williamson’s quiet paintings.
The menu combines tangible and elusive ideas that evoke sensations and feelings that we hope will be reflected in the flavour combinations and pairings. Chef Stefan Gusztak chose ingredients influenced by Iceland (some altered to source locally) that bring flavours reminiscent of a lush forest, elements of smoke, charcoal, and rustic aesthetics. Mixologist Josh Yuill created an easy-drinking, sweet-and-sour, earthy cocktail with nine ingredients representing the musicians featured in The Visitors who come together in a cohesive whole. We wanted to pay homage to Rokeby Farm’s Running with Scissors-like dilapidated mansion and joyful sense of lunacy, to reflect the past grandeur of lavish bygone parties with fashionable crowds in tuxedos and evening gowns—to imagine them eating oysters and sipping bubbles.
For our wine experts from Metrovino, industrially produced wines were unthinkable. They sought to pair vinous expressions of subtlety and modesty — wines with heartrending euphonies that reveal a supplication to nature and the tiny role that the vintner plays within it. Wines are grown and ushered by visionary artisans who fully recognize that their life’s work is a collaboration with something much bigger than they are, resulting in wines that are captivating through their wistful complexity.
Engulfed by the achingly beautiful sound and imagery of Kjartansson and Williamson’s exhibitions, confounded by eminent loneliness and melancholy, and yet simultaneously feeling less alone, desiring closeness, feeling grateful for the strength of collaboration and the power of art to erode cynicism, we made this menu to be enjoyed—and shared—in company.
Menu for an exhibition
Fresh West Coast oyster, smoked sumac mignonette, watercress
Seared scallop, Northern Divine caviar, crispy potato, labneh
Charred monkfish, oyster mushroom and white wine risotto, harissa fish fumet, crispy kale
Fermented chocolate profiterole, cocoa nib, blackberry syrup
Clean all oysters by scrubbing with a brush or green scrubby. Place onto tray, “bowl side” down. Refrigerate.
Smoked sumac mignonette
15g sherry vinegar
5g shallot, minced
10g chopped parsley
35g smoked olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together, and season with Maldon salt. Refrigerate.
Serve at room temperature (take out of the fridge for 20 minutes before). Re-whisk before serving. Put in a small bowl. Pour on the oyster just before eating.
Remove abductor muscle from scallop, place between two pieces of paper towel, place on drying rack and allow to purge for at least 2 hours before searing on a hot pan.
Slice potatoes thinly and place in a water bath to remove starch. Turn the deep fryer down to 300°F and blanch potatoes for 4 minutes. When ready to serve, cook sliced potatoes at 350°F till golden brown.
400 mL heavy cream
20 mL buttermilk
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tsp chopped dill
1 Tsp chopped cilantro
1 Tsp chopped mint
Scald cream: in a small saucepan, heat cream until small bubbles form, just before boiling (around 80°C). Remove from heat, cool slightly, then add buttermilk to cream. Place in an airtight container, and leave at room temperature for two days. Refrigerate. For a thicker consistency, strain overnight with cheese cloth.
Using a spatula, fold in chopped herbs.
To plate: Spread labneh onto plate, drizzle with olive oil and Maldon salt. Place scallops and crispy potatoes on top.
1000mL ice water
Remove skin from monkfish loins. Reserve for fumet (fish stock – see recipe below). Clean loins and portion into 6oz pieces. Before service, combine water, salt, and sumac in a container. Place portioned loins into the ice water and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove and rinse. Place on rack to dry. Skewer.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grill (ideally on charcoal grill) for 3-4 minutes on each side. Place grilled fish in a pan in the oven for about 7-10 minutes (internal temperature should be around 145°F).
750mL fumet (see recipe below)
10mL olive oil
250mL white wine
100g diced white onion
300mL arborio rice
Place a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and arborio rice. Toast rice until there is a slight colour change, stirring constantly. Once the rice is toasted, add onion. Cook onions until translucent, then deglaze pot with white wine. Allow white wine to reduce almost entirely, then add warm fish stock gradually to the cooking rice, stirring constantly. Once all stock is incorporated, add flavor agents, such as butter, cheese, herbs, or mushrooms. Serve warm. It should be the consistency of “lava flowing.” Finish with salt and pepper.
1 lemon, halved
1 bay leaf
2g black peppercorn
1 onion, peeled, halved
500mL white wine
Fish bones and skin
125 mL unsalted butter
1 Tbsp harissa (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, cool, and store in the fridge.
For the sauce:
Place fumet in a stainless steel pan and reduce to the desired flavour. Add butter and harissa. Do not boil. The resulting sauce will be spicy and thick. Finish with salt.
To plate – Family style:
Make a “bed” of the risotto on a large serving dish. Place fish on top, spoon the sauce on fish and risotto just enough so that it doesn’t pool. Garnish with parsley and grated manchego.
100mL dark chocolate
100mL heavy cream
Scald heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add chocolate and buttermilk. Mix until chocolate is melted. Place in a warm area for 24 hours. Fermented chocolate will be thick and slightly sour. Refrigerate.
Heat water, milk, and butter in a stainless steel pot, bring to a boil. Sift flour and salt into milk mixture. Cook over low heat, for roughly 2 minutes, stirring dough continuously. Remove from heat, and slowly add whole eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, resulting in a smooth dough.
Place dough into a piping bag, pipe into desired shape, bake at 350°F with a high fan until fluffy and golden brown.
50g raw sugar
Combine both, place in airtight container and let sit in a heated room (28°C) until bubbly and fermented.
To serve: Drizzle blackberry sauce on a small serving plate. Add/pipe fermented chocolate into profiterole and place on top of sauce, adding more sauce to finish. Serve at room temperature.
Mixologist Josh Yuill
The 5 B’s (Bitter, Birch, Blueberry, Basil, Bourbon)
1.5 oz Bourbon
0.5 oz Amaro di Angostura
1 oz Birch Blueberry Basil Syrup
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 egg white
Add the ingredients to a shaker with no ice and shake to incorporate air into the cocktail (15 seconds).
Add ice and shake again to get the drink cold and diluted.
Double Strain into a Large Coupe and garnish with a lemon cheek and basil sprig.
For the Syrup
(makes ~10 oz)
1/2 cup pure blueberry juice (made in-house)
1 cup raw sugar
Handful of fresh basil
1/8 cup Birch Beer
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring often. Once boiled, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain out solid ingredients and let cool at room temperature.
Metrovino Wine Team
2020 Famille Peillot Chardonnay – Bugey, France
2020 Dominique Joseph Saumur-Champigny “Le Petit St. Vincent” – Loire Valley, France
2020 Domaine Pouderoux Maury – Roussillon, France