The first chapter of The Untold Story at Enigma featuring Chef Quique Dacosta, set the bar so high that I couldn’t imagine any subsequent chapter or chef managing to entrance me more, but one thing was certain then and has been reaffirmed now: Enigma will continue to surprise, impress, and make you continuously look forward to every chef and the following chapters.
Enigma has now welcomed one of Scandanavia’s most renowned chefs and founder of the Frantzén Group, Björn Frantzén to bring his culinary genius to Dubai’s bustling food scene- albeit for a mere 3 months, as is the case for all chef’s who come to grace the ephemeral Enigma kitchen. His restaurant Frantzén, in Stockholm was awarded two Michelin stars only two years into operation and what Dubai will get to sample and enjoy from April 21st to June 30th will be a compilation of some of his bestsellers from back home.
My chauffer-driven chariot for the night, courtesy of Palazzo Versace.
What made this experience like no other was the truly deep and detailed understanding we got of ingredients otherwise extremely unusual to and often unheard of by us; and the chef’s thought process, as every diner receives a booklet containing labeled sketches and details of the food that is served to them. There was less an element of suspense and surprise in this chapter vs. the previous one, and it was also less theatrical; but the cuisine is different, the chef is different, and the cooking styles are different, so it would be senseless to even attempt a comparison. This chapter is more about simplicity, and creatively harmonious melanges of ingredients native to Nordic cuisine. The only thing that was consistent and I am confident will remain so, is that you can expect to be floored every time you visit Enigma- by great food, great service and an experience unparalleled by any other.
The Journey With a Nordic Chef was also the most casual and unpretentious fine dining experience I’ve ever had. Even the playlist was such a fun collection of songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s, which the chef selected himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if the eclectic collection with songs ranging from the likes of “Kung Fu Fighting” to “I don’t belong to you” was straight out of his Ipod! The music, the energy and the vibes made us really enjoy the meal and take our time with it, and then stay for drinks (green tea in my case, of course), way past the meal. Even the servers, although as courteous as ever, were more at ease, more jovial.
Björn Frantzén started his restaurant Frantzén in 2008. For The Journey Of A Nordic Chef, he selected a dish from each year of his restaurant, and added some new ones for The Untold Story. What’s interesting to note here, is that whenever Björn Frantzén conceptualizes a dish, he starts with a sketch of what it’s going to look like once it’s plated, and what the key elements will be. The menus provided to us had images of all the original sketches for all that we got to enjoy.
I won’t share pictures of everything we ate, as I want to maintain the element of mystery, but I must share my favorites:
Poached oyster with sea buckthorn granita. juniper cream and sprouted walnut. The most enjoyable oyster I’ve ever knocked back.
Tomato water “golden Tea” served with carrot sphere, lemon verbena, & grain mustard. Not all tomatoes are created equal, ergo this cold refreshing soup is made of 15 different tomatoes!
The Chef in all his glory!
White moss “sushi” with deer, frozen bird’s liver, burnt hay & chanterelles. The whtie moss is washed and fried to a crisp and this was a texture junkie’s briney dream come true.
This was the the BEST scallop I have ever had. It was cooked in it’s own shell in ginger oil & finger lime, and served with dried roe, fir tree & a Nordic Dashi stock which will put all other stocks to shame.
Easily the most charming bartender ever fixed me up a berry mocktail so refreshing that I had to ask for another one.
This Christmas dish of cod is cured, seared, and slow-baked (at 38 degrees celcius), and was simply phenomenal. The depth of flavors that comes from slow cooking is mind blowing. This was served with Swedish vendance roe from Kalix, beurre blanc flavored with preserved anchovy juice, dill and young onions. The flavors were magical.
“Hot-Pot” lamb served with cabbage, kale, wild mushroom, roasted cauliflower bouillon, and truffles. Simple, fresh spring vegetables can be transformed and elevated to no end with a good stock or bouillon.
Not the prettiest picture or the most visually appealing dish but the flavors had me FLOORED. After eating out so much, my palate is always craving unique flavors that broaden it’s horizon and this dessert did just that and left me craving for more. This was a whipped licorice mousse atop frozen lingonberries and fresh blackberries, with a thin layer of 100-year old vinegar, and sticky beetroot on top as well as dried beetroot powder. Wow, simply wow.
The chef lovingly refers to this dish as “Back to the future”. The chocolate sphere encloses smoked ice cream with roasted nuts, tar syrup & salted fudge with cloves. This is NOT your average chocolate sphere.
Did I mention how much I loved the bartender?
He wooed and wowed us with his liquid nitrogen antics……
(This really never gets boring.)
….and prepared for us a green apple, green tea, lemon juice and rhubarb virgin margarita!
The Journey of A Nordic Chef starts with a macaron and ends with a macaron. My insatiable sweet tooth loved this cloudberry, thyme and wild berry one more, obviously.
You can enjoy the “Full Story” for AED 650, or the “Half Story” for AED 450 (both at an early bird discount).
This menu will only be available from April 21st till June 30th, and you can make a reservation on http://www.enigmadxb.com/ or +971 4 556 8840