I’m only a little newbie on the blog scene so don’t often get invites to any of the great free blogger events that go on so I was delighted when a lovely mail from Emily at Yelp arrived in my inbox a few weeks back. It was for the Out of Sight event that they were organising in Pacino’s restaurant on Suffolk Street. The concept is that you are “blindfolded throughout each course to heighten the senses and add a new dimension of mystery and sensation to the culinary experience”. There are six small courses and after each course you make a note of what you think you’ve just eaten as best you can, then the Chef comes out and talks you through exactly what was on the plate and you can see how much you’ve actually gotten correct using just the taste sense and not your sight and smell.
Of course I wasn’t going to pass up an offer like that so I accepted the invite and looked forward to the event! The second part of the invite was a list of ingredients of which you had to choose a few to make up one dish. On the night the chef would pick a winner and the dish would then feature on Pacino’s menu for the month of November. Baking I’m good at – cooking, I’m not! I did my best though and submitted a recipe for a nice sea bass dish.
So last night after work and badly in need of a drink I met with the lovely Laura from Dublin Diary and we had a glass of wine and a chat before heading to Pacino’s. I hadn’t yet eaten in the restaurant so was looking forward to it. The interior is nice and cosy and low key and when I used the loo later in the night I saw they seem to have a wine bar area downstairs which looked lovely.
On arriving Laura introduced me to a few other bloggers – it was great to meet some of the people and put faces to all the blog posts that I read! We had a quick drink and then we were all seated for the experience to begin.
I will apologise for the absolute STATE of the lopsided and blurry photos that are to come – I was trying to take pictures with a blindfold on so wasn’t even sure if I was focusing on the plate or my wine glass! I managed to get a few anyway.
First up was one of my favourites. It was a small piece of brown bread with a smoked salmon mouse and a piece of strawberry on top. We all managed to guess these elements correctly on taste alone.
Next up was definitely my least favourite! I didn’t manage to get a photo of it. On first tasting I got the water cracker that it was based on and the taste of Nutella. I LOVE Nutella so that much was good. However the topping just felt so wet and mushy and lacked taste. I hadn’t a clue what I was eating but I did push the topping off and left it on my plate as I wasn’t a fan. It turned out to be an aubergine cavier that was on top…. Not for me I’m afraid, but still great to taste something I probably wouldn’t eat if I’d seen it first.
Number 3 was again served on a cracker – I think it was just for ease of picking up and eating when blindfolded. This one was yum. I got the caramalised sweet red onion and knew that there was cheese on top. I didn’t manage to guess which cheese but it turned out to be gorgonzola. This was really tasty and the sweetness of the onion paired well with the cheese. (Blurry pic alert!)
Course 4 was again on a cracker and we managed to guess all the ingredients for this one. There was some mint with buffalo mozzarella on top and a small piece of strawberry. I’m a bit iffey about sweet and savoury things together but the strawberry worked well here. I have to say though with the addition of mint here all I could think of was mojitos!
Last up of the blindfolded courses was another water cracker. Again the topping on this one felt quite wet and I wasn’t crazy for the taste either. I got that it was mushroom and thyme but wasn’t sure what it was paired with to give it the mushy texture. The Chef revealed that it was ricotta cheese and white truffle – something I’d never tasted before.
Last course up was to be the winning entry submitted by everyone attending. It was won by Magda from Magda’s Cauldron and was stuffed chicken wrapped in parma ham and served with some salad and new potatoes. I really enjoyed this one and especially liked the olives through the middle – yum!
So after another few glasses of wine we headed off home. It was great to try something so different and really showed how much I use sight and smell when eating. It was very strange to get used to eating without being able to see and also having conversations while blindfolded was very odd – you weren’t sure if someone was talking to you at all and you had to listen even more as usually when looking at someone you are sort of lip reading at the same time. A great experience and thank you to the chef Luca Mazza and all the team at Yelp for the invite 🙂
You can also follow me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/KatesKabin
Or Twitter here: https://twitter.com/kateskabin