We went to Alder in the opening weeks after loving our meal(s) at WD-50 (from the same incredibly well respected and loved Chef Wylie Dufresne). WD-50 had to close down recently, sadly, but they decided to add a Tasting Menu to Alder. We quickly booked ourselves a table.
We started with drinks, including this wonderful cherry mocktail that I really enjoyed.
Our first amuse bouche was a tiny pastry shell filled with… something… foie gras? liver? I’m not sure, but it was a taste of savory heaven.
Our second amuse was a take on grilled cheese (I think?) that was another bite of wonderful.
We added an order of Pub Cheese to our tasting after hearing great things about it. It came with “potato crisps” and pistachio and fig.
It was much more lavender than we expected and tasty, but didn’t blow us away.
Our first item on the menu was the scallops, which I REALLY enjoyed with the red grape. It brought out all the right flavors in the dish.
Our next dish was split, because I couldn’t have the black garlic potatoes on the menu. SO I had an grain dish of some kind which was quite good, but not overly memorable.
Everyone else really enjoyed their black garlic potatoes with consommé and chorizo.
Our next dish was right out of what makes Wylie Dufresne’s cooking so creative. It looked like a tiny stack of pancakes with a slice of butter and syrup (poured table side) but it was actually Okonomiyaki (a Japanese pancake) with grilled octopus and kewpie mayonnaise. This was a bit of a trick on the palette, with lots of ginger flavor. You couldn’t quite tell what you were eating, and I can’t say I loved it, but it was an interesting dish.
Our last main dish was my absolute favorite. Lamb with ramp panisse, smoked yogurt, and vandouvan. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the smokiness of the yogurt made for an absolutely incredible dish. By far the stand-out for me.
Our dessert was brie with cherry and pistachio. A very nice way to end the meal with something that wasn’t quite dessert but certainly left you with that great sweet end.
The petit fours were matcha chocolates and madeleines. Both were a teeny little sweet and capped the evening off well.
We all really enjoyed the tasting menu and were glad we decided to try it out. It wasn’t nearly as good as what we had at WD-50, but it felt like a great experiment with food that combined great flavors with great artistry. Definitely worth trying out.
Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10