I’m not sure how you usually spend your Fridays, but mine are pretty much the same, baking & making, making & baking, for the Saturday market on Waiheke Island. It keeps me in the kitchen, and keeps me match-fit, but every so often I get a little cabin-feverish. When an invitation came to enjoy Friday lunch as a guest of Seedlip at the French Café, specifically in the French Kitchen with Sid Sahrawat at the stove, I turned off my oven before it was even hot, flung my pinny on the bench and was on the ferry to the big smoke in a flash. Whoa! What an invitation. Seedlip, as I have written about in Shared Kitchen before (and if you’ve got nothing else to do, you may as well have a read Seedlip’s Come To Town … ) is a brand of distilled non-alcoholic spirits. They cracked the market first, appearing in New Zealand this time last year. There are now three flavour profiles to choose from (Spice 94, Garden 108 & Grove 42). You can read the amazing Seedlip story here https://seedlipdrinks.com/uk/story
And you can check out the Seedlip cocktails we enjoyed in the private French Kitchen at Sid at The French Café here Seedlip Cocktails
and connect with The French Café here Sid at The French Café
The invitation totally appealed to me because I knew I would come home clear-headed. Drinking wine at lunchtime usually results in me face-planting onto the computer keyboard around about 5.00pm (man, I hate those keyboard impressions in my cheeks!), but I knew with Seedlip I could get on with my day and evening unimpaired by too much of a good thing. And was the food good? Are you kidding me? What sort of a question is that! Sid Sahrawat is a legend! With wife and partner Chandra at his side, the pair seem to have sashayed from one success to another taking ownership of the French Café (last September) in their stride.
The menu with Sid’s explanations follows. The dishes are on the current menu at the French Café and are available teamed with the Seedlip cocktails during the month of July.
Organic rye bread with cultured butter
Mt Cook salmon, cucumber, nasturtium, charcoal
(Seedlip, Garden, chamomile, cucumber, aloe)
Alpine Mt Cook salmon is farmed but wild caught. Spruce tips foraged by Peter Langlands. He also forages the reindeer moss on the dish for us with special consent from DOC. Spruce is turned into an oil that is then made into an emulsion. Charcoal powder is made from the charcoals from our yakitori grill that is first used to infuse an oil then turned into a powder.
Dry aged duck, celeriac, almond, coffee
(Seedlip Spice, cascara infusion, grapefruit)
Eastherbrook Farms supplies our duck. The duck is killed a day before it arrives at the restaurant. We then age it for a minimum of one week. The Seedlip duck was aged for two weeks. This makes the skin crispier as the fat shrinks. It was served with a celeriac and coffee sauce with milk cocoa oil, and almonds that were blanched and peeled. We made the duck ham in house three months ago.
Chocolate, sherry, sorrel, cherry blossom
(Seedlip Grove, our honey infused with ginger, lemon)
Chocolate parfait chocolate is from Miann made in NZ sourced from PNG and Peru. Aerated chocolate honeycomb made with French C.afé beehive honey We use liquid nitrogen to make snow with cherry blossom. Sherry caramel. Sorrel custard uses sorrel from the garden at French Café