In the face of the usual wine and beer pairings found in most restaurants nowadays, one restaurant in Qawra has decided to up the ante. The team at DUO Restaurant have created a new type of pairing for hungry customers to enjoy.
Art On The Table is the newest idea from chef and owner Tonio Micallef and chef Helfred van Malkenhorst. Looking for a new and exciting way for customers to interact with their delectable meals, they wanted to experiment with an idea they hadn’t seen before.
They’ve created edible ‘paints’ out of sauces for an artist to create a unique piece on the table in front of diners. Throughout the courses, diners would be able to dip their food into the art – creating their own unique piece in the process.
A new ‘painting’ is done with each course.
“We have been quietly working hard to present some unique events, where we and the guests have an amazing and fun experience,” said chef Helfred. “Our first event will be ‘Art On The Table’, where we let Patrick Scicluna make his art with our sauces on top of the table. After he is done, we add our food to finish the cooperation between food and art.”
Sitting down in the restaurant just off the Qawra promenade, one of the first things that will catch your attention is the freshly-made bread. Chef Helfred, a third generation Dutch baker, creates some beautiful little rolls, including a crusty basil and parmesan swirl roll.
Patrick Scicluna, a local artist, begins working with the edible ‘paints’ as Chef Tonio explains how they are able to achieve such vibrant colours.
After experimenting for a time, they settled on what they felt where the best flavours and colours for the saucy art.
Bell pepper for the red, beetroot for the purple, rucola oil for the green, butternut squash for the orange… Chef Tonio explains that the hardest colour to find in nature is blue, and the only way they achieved the blue ‘paint’ was by doing some culinary magic involving bicarbonate of soda and some cabbage.
Other items like pumpkin seed powder and dried black olive granules are added to the painting to complete the artist’s palette.
Art On The Table is just the first in a series of interactive events that DUO restaurant will be rolling out.
Their next is Challenge The Chef, where customers can give the chefs eight ingredients of their choice – two for each course from a four course meal – and the chefs have to whip them up into an incredible, impromptu meal.
Chef Helfred jokingly called it the Maltese Iron Chef Challenge.
They’ll also be exploring old Maltese recipes with a modern twist in their Fusion In Time events. They’ll be adding essential elements like folk music to let the Maltese food tell the night’s narrative.
Mystery Flavours will be all about using ingredients never before used in Malta, and will include an educational lecture in the restaurant.
There are also plans for an event perfect for the whole family. Your Kids In Charge will see kids cooking for their parents, with children taking over the kitchen and having some fun with it. “We want to bring children’s excitement to the kitchen,” said Chef Helfred.
With this series of events running from April all the way to September, the guys over at DUO Restaurant are set on creating truly memorable experiences paired with top gastronomical flavours.
“Our aim isn’t to create as profitable an event as possible, but to show our capabilities and to inspire and celebrate local talent,” said the chefs. “We want to step up and give you guys the best of the rest!”