중앙데일리

JW Marriott jazzes up grill with Arabian spices

May 26,2007
Chef Christian Jean
On a scale of exceedingly dull things, I would put the average 5-star hotel grill menu just behind watching paint dry.
Clam chowder. Caesar salad. Sirloin steak. Chicken Kiev. Blah, blah, blah.
Given that those who frequent these magnificent palaces ― expense-account business people, well-to-do locals, the occasional lost tourist ― are hardly culinary adventurers, this may suit regulars, but is unlikely to lure a new clientele.
So if you are a hotel general manager and want to zap a bit of zest into your menu, Who ya gonna call?
Christian Jean, that’s who.
This Provencal native has spent most of his career in international hotels ― including a recent stretch in Dubai. He is married to an Algerian. And he is one of the creative brains behind the cookbook “New Arabian Cuisine,” (2006) a lavish tome bursting with recipes designed to update and internationalize traditional Arabic provender.
Now the JW Marriott’s executive chef, he is rolling out through June a range of unique dishes as a compliment to the everyday JW Grill menu.
The JW Grill is a beige, lounge-type establishment that reminds me a bit of hotel menus, though of course bland design has the benefit of focusing attention to your plate, rather than the walls. So without further ado, let’s cut to the chase.
First up, it’s garlic flan with snails and wild mushrooms (20,000 won). This is heavy on the garlic, but with the olive oil, there is a hint of zesty cilantro and lemon, which adds a North African flavor to a dish that could otherwise have come from the Northern end of the Mediterranean.
Our next appetizer is scallops burghal (21,000 won): scallops on a salad of almonds, tomatoes, cucumber and broad beans. It offers an intriguing range of textures. It is flavored with cinnamon and orange and there is a hint of smokiness to the dish, which comes accompanied by a refreshing lemon emulsion as a dip.
Soup is pumpkin and cinnamon (14,000 won). Dollops of green pea and sour cream are dropped in for effect, as is the Arabic spice, sumac. Then it’s a palate refresher of lemon sorbet and shredded Korean pear. (Sadly, neither the chef’s makgeolli sorbet nor his camel milk panacotta were available this day).
For mains, it has to be Australian lamb (49,000 won). This comes with a spinach compote and pureed olive on ratatouille lentils, eggplant and onions, flavored with lemon salt. A sweet gravy of lamb stock and pomegranate syrup drenches the meat, which is served on the bone, seared on the outside and pink on the inside. Paradise? Not quite, but certainly close.

Salmon fillet
Salmon fillet (44,000 won) is served with roast artichoke and a truffle hummus: To my surprise, I find it rather dry, bland and unexciting.
The first dessert is an Egyptian-style fruit salad (13,000 won) of dried figs and apricots, with fresh strawberry. A strong fragrance of orange wafts forth, courtesy of a spray of orange water.
The second is a garishly-colored pudding of pear mousse (14,000 won) poached in saffron, and served on an almond biscuit with sesame nougatine in the center to add a bit of crunch. It is drizzled in pomegranate juice, and topped with chocolate whirls. It looks like a child’s toy, but proves surprisingly light.
We try a bottle of Chilean Carmen Nativa 2004 Chardonnay (98,000 won) ― an ultra-perfumed, golden Charddy that epitomizes the sheer, in-your-face muscle power of New World vinos. While it may lack the subtle finesse of the dishes, it is one hell of a glug: liquid sunshine, indeed.
Verdict: This is sophisticated cuisine indeed ― an interesting meal as well as a delicious one. Unlike other fusion attempts, this is well thought out and well executed by a gent who knows the basics. The Arabic spices are intriguing. This promotion winds up at the end of June, so it’s worth shelling out for that special occasion. There is nothing remotely like this in Seoul.

JW Grill
English spoken
Telephone: 6282-6759
Hours: 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; 6 to 10:30 p.m., 7 days.
Address: JW Marriott Hotel, Central City, 19-3 Banpo-dong, 137-040
Subway: Gangnam Express Bus Terminal, Line Nos. 3 or 7
Dress: Business, smart casual
Parking available

By Andrew Salmon Contributing Writer [andrewcsalmon@yahoo.co.uk]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장