Had an amazing dinner at Red Medicine last night. Chef/Partner Jordan Kahn,
Managing Partner Noah Ellis, and Partner Adam Fleischman have created what is described as a late night Vietnamese restaurant - which is not a great description. This is their manifesto from their website:
Very cool space, concrete floors, great bar, lots of windows, hip and noisy. Good music, particularly a remix of 'Age of Reason' by John Farnham. Great for homesick Aussies! or not.
With a window into the busy kitchen
and cutlery on the table
But a Vietnamese restaurant as we know it, it is NOT. The food is really really clever and unusual with clean, pure flavours. I love going to a restaurant and being surprised with great food that I just could not cook myself. It was suggested we order 2 - 3 dishes each as they were small and designed to be shared, however the Large Format dishes should be counted as 4, leaving too limited a tasting choice for us even though there were three of us, although we were tempted by the Wagyu Brisket braised for 36 hours. The kitchen would deliver the dishes in their order - which was fine with us.
We had: CHICKEN DUMPLINGS (caramelized sugar, pork fat, lemongrass, confitures)
Not what we were expecting. They came with fresh lime to squeeze over, mint leaves, sweet soy and a spicy sriracha chilli sauce, finely sliced pickles, delicately fried red onion - all of which you wrap in a lettuce leaf. This is when we realised we were in for something different. CRISPY SPRING ROLLS (dungeness crab, lime, pea pods, fines herbes, chili). Fabulous.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS (caramelized shallots, fish sauce, vermouth). Hidden under really light crisps. I'm gonna have to try to copy these.
MAITAKE MUSHROOM (cauliflower, snake beans, bacon x.o., walnut). Mushroom puree was poured into the middle when served and the cauliflower couldn't have been sliced any thinner.
SWEET CORN (kelley’s egg, turmeric crepe, black malt, shiitake). So amazing.
JIDORI CHICKEN (slow-cooked in caramel, cinnamon, mustard lettuce, coriander, crispy onion roots). Tender and caramelised to perfection.
DUCK (caramelized endive, banana, toasted grains, brown butter, chinese five spice). The duck was tender and the blue cheese crumble just melted into nothing. The banana sauce was just as it said - but better than banana!
WAGYU BEEF (creme fraiche, garlic chive, cashews, lovage, charred cucumber). The beef was perfectly cooked and the cucumber was extraordinary and tasted of a sweet lime sauce.
All mouthwateringly good, but the standouts were the Sweet Corn, the Brussels Sprouts and the Jidori Chicken.
All so impressive, we had to try their desserts.
COCONUT BAVAROIS (coffee, condensed milk, thai basil, peanut croquant, chicory). You could really taste peanut butter! The Thai basil 'drops' were fabulous.
MUSCAT GRAPE (almond, white chocolate, zucchini, elderflower, violet ). So refreshing and clever with clear balls of elderflower hidden amongst the grapes.
Applause for Jordan Kahn.
Not cheap, but extraordinary food, great vibe, terrific service. Not quite sure why I can't give it 10/10, more to do with the space than the food - just a little 'cold'.