The Chicken and Shrimp Towers at the Lazia Restaurant in Edmonton were a novel idea, but their design rendered them just a bit impractical.
Lazia, which has now closed down, was an Asian fusion restaurant and cocktail lounge in downtown Edmonton. I probably wouldn’t have found myself there except for the fact that that I was staying in a hotel above it and ended up having a couple of meals there. They had, as I recall, some very nice and decadent deserts, but their appetizers, like that one pictured above, tended to be more about visual appeal rather than the gustatory experience.
The appetizer in question appeared on the menu as ‘Beijing-Style Chicken and Shrimp Towers’, although I wasn’t really able to figure out what it was about these towers, that associated them with Beijing particularly. Indeed, I am not even really sure what was especially Chinese about them, other than the ‘Dragon and Phoenix’ style pairing of Chicken and Shrimp.
Anyway, each of the three towers consisted of a base composed a small roulade of chicken in puff pastry, into which was a thrust a skewer holding a small grilled shrimp and a ball of Honeydew Melon. The towers, such as they were, each rested in a small puddle of what the menu called a ‘Sambal Mayo’.
The plating, with the added pea-shoots as garnish. Was quite pretty, and even rather inventive in it’s own way, but the actual execution of the dish was flawed. The shrimp was grilled quite nicely, without being remarkable, while the chicken roulade was quite dry and had a scorched taste. The melon was… well, a piece of melon and the mayo accompaniment (perhaps containing Sambal Oelek, was just a basic mayo with a faintly spicy taste.
Well, I could probably forgive the poor cooking job on the Chicken… it wasn’t actually all that bad, but the design of the dish really detracted from the eating experience. he size and shape of the skewers made it impossible to taste all three components together without taking them off and cutting them with a knife and fork so it was difficult to get any sense of how they complimented each other. Something one could just pop into the mouth whole would have achieved this but the present structure was just impractical. It was a reasonably clever idea, but flawed in its implementation.