Edible structures on plates are at the forefront of Quebec City architecture, namely the four-course Menu d’Architecture at Restaurant L’Utopie. Recently hailed by enRoute magazine as one of Canada’s best new restaurants, the upscale dining room features a themed menu in which appetizer, main, cheese and dessert plates draw inspiration from works by Frank Gehry, Studio Archea, Satoshi Okada and KHRAS.
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“I wanted each dish to express basic architectural concepts, such as perforation, rhythm, repetition and contrast,” says architect Pierre Bouvier, whose drawings of well-known buildings served as the menu’s starting point. Then it was up to chef Stéphane Modat to interpret the renderings. He set to work, using an arsenal of hand-held rotary saws, specialized moulds and other unorthodox kitchenware to cook, set, cut and shape the elements of each dish during six months of crash tests.
For his starter, a smoked salmon plate based on Gehry’s Experience Music Project, Modat cold-smoked his fish in-house to control its consistency as a building material. Crisp, savoury tuiles form curving facets that protect a sour cream and butter-milk blancmange– the whole a tribute to the building’s organic shape. But it’s ever a matter of form over flavour? “It’s a fine line,” says Modat, “It has to taste good too.”
Azure, Forms and Functions, June, 2006