☆ Chef Paco Pérez @ Ikarus, Salzburg

Hangar-7 is owned by Red Bull founder and is the key reason why I arranged a stop-over in Salzburg. Its an extraordinary place of pilgrimage for food, architecture, planes and car lovers. The hangar itself is an unique architectural work of art, housed inside the multi-functional building is a one Michelin-starred restaurant – Ikarus. The restaurant operates under a one-of-a-kind ‘guest chef concept’. A different top chef each month takes turn to run the kitchen and serve their culinary creations in this sleek-looking hangar.

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The hangar has a spectacular view of the mountainous snow-capped alps nearby. The Ikarus restaurant is located on the 2nd storey of the building adjoining the hangar, the interior of the restaurant is equally impressive as the views outside.

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The guest chef of the month was Paco Pérez from Spain. Chef Paco Pérez was the protégé of one of the world’s best chef: Ferrán Adriá, owner of the world-famous el Bulli restaurant.  Back in Spain, he runs Restaurant Miramar which is a two Michelin-star restaurant as well as Enoteca (also two Michelin stars), the La Royale and the Mirror in Barcelona as well as the Restaurant Cinco (one Michelin star) in Berlin. With such stellar background, I’m certainly excited to try his molecular gastronomy dishes.

There were 2 menus available for the lunch session: (a) a twenty-three course menu (b) eighteen-course menu (€135). The exceptionally high number of courses might sound rather intimidating but this is because Chef’s dishes were typical Spanish Tapas style, mainly comprising of small bite sized items. We opted for the eighteen-course menu as the staff informed us that it would take more than 3 hours to finish the twenty-three course one. Given our tight schedule in Salzburg, we had to opt for the shorter menu so that we have sufficient time to explore the aircraft museum later.

Interestingly the guest chef for January was Andre Chiang from Restaurant ANDRE, Singapore. We excitedly told the staff that we were from Singapore too and had also dined in his restaurant before. * The service staff doesn’t change, so they still have fresh memories of Chef Andre. It also meant that they have a challenging task of memorising new menus & ingredients for each dish every month..*

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The first dish was Pine nuts comprised of pine seeds stuck onto a thin strip of paper, sitting pretty on a bed of cannot-be-eaten wheatgrass.  Followed by Apple which was made of refreshing green apple.

Third dish was Char Toast which was Meringue with emulsion of seaweed and salmon roe topped with char (fish similar to trout). The snow-white meringue really looked the part of toast, with bits of pinkish char and bright orangey roe as toppings. It not only looked enticing, it had a fantastic combination of various textures in 1 bite – crisp meringue, pop-in-your mouth roe and melt-in-your mouth char (texture was a bit like raw salmon).

Fourth dish was Thyme Soup which had Sea urchin, soy sauce with quail egg. The savoury soup was bursting with umami while the taste of uni was well-balanced by the quail egg.

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Fifth dish was Anchovy presented like Japanese gunkan sushi with seaweed wrapping over the “rice” which had a soft dough-liked texture. Sixth dish Nigiri also had Japanese influences as its a deconstructed Nigiri, with the fish wrapped under the layer of soft dough-liked textured “rice”, adorned with dot of wasabi and seaweed.

Seventh dish Coconut “thai” had coconut freeze-dried at -100 degrees Celsius for 48 hrs, topped with thinly sliced shrimps.  Eighth dish was Chicken beer which I guess should be some chicken broth cooked for hours. Ninth dish was Andalucia, its also one of the most interesting dish so far. At first look one would be tempted to tear open the clear bag containing the fried bites inside. But the server told us that the clear bag can be eaten as well! The contents inside the bag were somewhat like a mixture of battered seafood such as calamari, shrimps etc.

We usually see edible translucent rice paper but seldom see transparent ones, can’t help but wonder how the transparent paper was created.  Out of curiosity I went to do a search on it. Found out that the edible film discs are made of potato starch and soy lecithin. It does not dissolve when in contact with oil or liquid ingredients with low water content. Chef Ferrán Adriá created an iconic dish called “disappearing transparent ravioli” allowing diners to see what is wrapped inside.

Such was the fun of enjoying molecular food, as it sets you thinking…while your visual and taste sensory play tricks on you.

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Within 30 mins after commencing our meal, we were onto the tenth dish – Truffled cloud. The “cloud”- fluffy candy floss was littered with earthy mushroom, aromatic truffle and nutty macadamia.

If there is an award for best presentation I would give it to the eleventh dish named Sea. This dish is also served at Chef’s own restaurant but I think what made the dish looked exceptionally striking here was the use of the “Hangar 7” design glass plate. The plate coincidentally looked like a flattened globe with the lines being the longitudes and latitudes of earth. Now laying the various elements of “seafood” on it, isn’t it a well-composed visually pleasing piece of art? Not only that, we were given a pair of tweezers each to pick up the dainty morsels comprising of scallop with salmon roe, cod tar tar, mussel, whelk, tuna, lobster, razor clam, prawn, clam etc.

After Sea, we had Peas made up of marinated prawn, peas and jelly. Despite not being a pea lover, surprisingly I had no issues taking this dish. This dish had different forms of peas – the molecular peas, normal cooked peas and the dehydrated peas all mixed into one bowl.

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The thirteenth dish was Octopus “seoul” Grilled Octopus with beef tendon cooked for 18 hours into gelatinous form. Scrambled eggs was next and it was explained to us as eggs with truffle. The yellow yolks were probably made using the spherification technique.

Moving into the main courses Calamari risotto and Duck. The risotto had intense octopus flavour, the risotto texture was cooked perfectly as the grains were supple, added aroma from the black truffle topping. Duck was served with beetroot and onion, wonderfully plated as well. The duck had a crackling crispy skin yet retained its juiciness and tenderness in the flesh.

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At last we reached the last 2 dishes – desserts. Mango and citrus fruits had chocolate, raspberry with passionfruit and caramel. Being a mango lover, I can’t have enough of this superb dessert. We end our lunch with a amusingly playful dessert “Nevada” cake by Tarantino that requires us to break the cake and see the crimson “blood” oozing out, an epitome of Tarantino’s gruesome movie style.

We finished our meal in 2.5 hours, slightly faster than the 3+ hours needed for the 23-course menu. We were delighted that we made the right choice to stop-over at Salzburg to visit Ikarus inside Hangar 7 and having the opportunity to taste Chef Paco Pérez’s culinary creations.

Now for Part 2 of our Hangar 7 visit – admiring the futuristic architecture and historic collection of aircrafts, racing cars and motorbikes. I think this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Hangar you can find in the world.

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 In the morning, we did a short city tour around Altstadt.  

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Before leaving the Aldstadt area to catch a late train from the main station to Munich, we still had some time to spare so we decided to go look for a Michelin-starred restaurant near our hotel along the main shopping street – Carpe Diem Finest Fingerfood but unfortunately it was closed for renovation.

We did a final walkabout in the old town before bidding goodbye to Salzburg.

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This entry was posted in Austria, ★ Michelin Star Restaurant, ☆ Michelin Star Chef, Degustation Menu, Restaurant, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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