Kayter's Italian Pop-Up: Devon House

Counting Down To The 20th Staging Of The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards, Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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Chefs Christina Simonitsch and Alexa Von Strolley took 40 taste buds on an all-expense-paid trip to Italy, Friday last, when they, together with partners Select Brands Jamaica Ltd, hosted another of their increasingly popular pop-up dinners at their Kayter location in Kingston.

The elegant evening, set against a rustic-chic backdrop at the 18 Ballater Avenue location, commenced when guests — comprised chiefly of corporate Jamaica heavy-hitters and their loved ones — were eased into the offerings of the classy affair with canapés — tasty pita chips with olives, a pâté with sorrel jam and smoked marlin mousse with pepper jelly — and Prosecco. Then they, having filled their eyes with the Elisabeth Simonitsch tablescapes, were ushered to their seats to indulge in the communal dining experience.

As a starter, diners “amused their mouths” with Simonitsch and Von Strolley's amuse-bouche consisting of focaccia (a dense Italian olive bread), homemade olive butter, and a beetroot panna cotta with toasted pecans and feta cheese with the pleasing Ruffino Prosecco.

The seductive flavours of caprese with homemade pesto drizzled with aged balsamic and pours of the light-bodied Sassoregale Vermentiono further excited the taste buds of the willing epicures.

Next, the Risotto alla Milanese (saffron risotto) and Gold Leaf was paired with the Chianti blends of Sassoregale Sangiovese.

The main — a succulent lamb shank atop creamy polenta perfectly complemented by the full-bodied Masi Campofirin — proved to be the evening's standard-bearer, notwithstanding commendations for the beef tenderloin and sautéed bok choy specials.

Diners shared laughter, and their taste buds enjoyed a brief interlude when Von Strolley and Simonitsch presented the evening's palate cleansers dubbed “Bellini Push-ups”.

The chefs and their three-man band of waiters then rounded out the Italian experience with a delicate Tiramisu Semifreddo, pairing it with the iconic coffee liqueur Tia Maria.

It was an intimate evening, characterised by the blending of laughter with the tinkling of cutlery, a wonderful testament to Simonitsch's mantra that if one prepares well, then all will go smoothly.

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