Seven ways with Lamb

It’s not easy to serve a 6 course meal centred around one ingredient. It can very easily become monotonous and boring, the dishes can look similar and the tastes get too repetitive. But at no point during our 6-course meal at the Mulwarra Lamb Promotion at Celini in the Grand Hyatt last week did we face any tedium.

That each dish, though based on the same ingredient, was so strikingly different from the one that preceded it was a testament to Chef Mike Tafe’s creativity. Of course, Chef Tafe’s task was made a mite easier since he was working with some of the best lamb in the world. An Australian company, Mulwarra produces lamb bred specifically for the table. The meat is so good that it can be cooked to varying doneness, from rare to well done, without any loss in flavour or taste.

The Indian government only recently permitted the import of Australian lamb into India and Mulwarra was taking the opportunity to showcase its excellent product.

Mulwarra lamb and lentil soup with cumin
Mulwarra lamb and lentil soup with cumin

The first course, a lentil soup with shredded mutton,  was like a mutton shorba meets kali-dal. Very mellow, minced coriander root added nice pockets of flavour.

Tataki of lamb loin with ginger, sesame and soy
Tataki of lamb loin with ginger, sesame and soy

Tataki is a Japanese method of cooking where meat is lightly seared, marinated and then thinly sliced. Cooked perfectly rare, the meat was a beautiful pink and balanced out with a citrusy salad.

Lamb shank braised with root vegetables and savoury herbs
Lamb shank braised with root vegetables and savoury herbs

The tender meat just slid off the bone which was full of juicy marrow.

Seared lamb loin with minted quinoa salad
Seared lamb loin with minted quinoa salad

One of the best dishes we ate that afternoon; the lamb cooked perfectly rare was full of flavour, the accompanying salad had a delightful freshness and lightness to balance the meat.

'Aussie bucco' lamb shank pie with orange gremolata
‘Aussie bucco’ lamb shank pie with orange gremolata

The only one I wasn’t very impressed with. The lamb on the side was very good but the filling was a more elegant version of the over spiced and pasty filling of mutton puffs sold at Indian bakeries.

Breaded lamb cutlet with Italian herbs and Lightly smoked lamb cutlet with chipotle butter
Breaded lamb cutlet with Italian herbs and Lightly smoked lamb cutlet with chipotle butter

The final lamb course of the afternoon which combined two courses into one.  I found the cultet with the coating of Italian herbs to be more subtle and to my taste. I did like the delicate whiff of smoke on the second cutlet but found the chipotle butter a tad overpowering.

Cappucino brûlée and royal chocolate cake with mixed berry compote
Cappucino brûlée and royal chocolate cake with mixed berry compote

And the only non-ovine part of the lunch. A simple dessert that helped us unwind after a long meal.

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