by Diana Tri Wulandari
Food from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden aren’t really the easiest to find around Asia, especially Jakarta. Food from the said countries that are geographically and culturally grouped as Nordic countries, is indeed very unique and could not be more different than the asian palate. Nordic cuisine is also not a popular import of Europe like the French cuisine, which tradition and techniques have crossed barriers and reigned supreme in kitchens all over the world, the widespread and vivacious Italian cuisine, or the vibrant Spanish fares.
So when I got the invite to sample chef Jaakko Sorsa’s interpretation of Nordic Food, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Chef Jaakko visited Jakarta in a one-time exclusive visit to C’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant, Grand Hyatt, on 8th October 2015, and normally can be found at FINDS, Hong Kong’s first and finest Nordic restaurant and bar. Jaakko was plucked direct from Helsinki, where he was instrumental in building up the success of two Michelin-star restaurant, Chez Dominique.
Chef Jaakko explained his Salmon dish to the guests
Before the dinner starts, the amicable and warm chef greeted the guests and invited everyone to expect freshness, and simplicity, both he sees as the essence of Nordic cuisine. To complement the 6 course dinner, guest were served white and red wines from Concha Y Torro.
Like a gentle classical orchestra, Chef Jaakko opened the medley with a simple yet powerful dish of Smooth Salmon Soup, where he slowly boils the most flavorsome part of Salmon, the head, blends the reduction, and serve it with some king crab meat and dill cucumbers. The result is a velvety liquid with a consistency of cream soup, with a fresh sea food aftertaste, but used no dairy at all in the making.
Smooth Salmon Soup
For the second dish, we were presented with a smorgasbord of bright colors and shapes, resembling a modern minimalist art canvas, but instead of paint, the art is made of one main ingredient, fresh salmon cooked and presented in six different ways. The first of six is the Gravad Lax or smoked raw salmon, a method which Chef Jaakko masters and did himself using the Elderwood flown all the way from Finland; the second is a slice of cold smoked salmon, the third lightly seared salmon, the fourth salmon mousse, the fifth was pickled—just like how the Swedish do Herring, and last but not least, smoked salmon roe. Despite coming from the same fish, each serving represents and gives pleasantly different taste and sensation.
Salmon Six Ways
The food presentation continues with a dish fit for a raw food and vegan foodies alike, the Root and Mushroom, which consists of roasted gold root or yellow beet root, beet root, radishes, and brined mushroom salad. The sweetness and the raw taste of the beets were cut and uplifted by the rich flavor of the brined mushrooms, that was hiding in the beautifully arranged ‘beetroot art’.