After tasting all the labourintensive technique that goes into every extravagantly composed small plate at AnnaLena, some might wonder if Michael Robbins had something to prove after being the first contender kicked off Top Chef Canada, Season 4.
Which just goes to show you that some people spend too much time thinking about what they are eating instead of just tasting it. Instead of dissecting all the steps that go into a seemingly simple bowl of mussels—the intensity of flavour locked down by a dry sear on high heat, a sizzling hit of stock to crack open the shells, a deeply concentrated white-wine fennel broth married with multiple fennel layers (crisply sautéed stalks, a frothy frond-bonito foam, extracted leaf and thyme oil) and anchored by whole cloves of garlic that have been blanched 10 times—diners would be wise to just sit back and enjoy.
The minimalist black-and-white room, a confidently edited wine selection, and a jazzy playlist invite diners to relax. And the chef ’s Lego sculptures, including the red heart he made for his wife, suggest he doesn’t take himself too seriously either.