This isn’t a restaurant review blog, nor is it about promotion or product placement, but sometimes an experience is worth stretching the boundaries.
We have long been familiar with the concept of being able to identify foods that taste sweet, sour, salty or bitter, but despite the fact that there were a great many flavours that don’t fit these categories, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that a fifth taste was identified when a Japanese professor discovered the role that glutamate performs in the taste of broths, soy sauces and more. He called this umami, which can be translated as delicious taste. Think meatiness, think mushrooms, think marmite, think Parmesan.
I first heard the term, almost inevitably, from Heston Blumenthal, one of a number of chefs who combine science with the kitchen arts in what has been called molecular gastronomy
I mention this because on my recent trip to Dublin I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday in Dylan McGrath’s appropriately named restaurant Taste, where the food, intriguingly inspired by the cuisines of Spain, Japan and South America, is labelled in the menu according to the predominant taste of each dish. I enjoyed the umami of my grilled beef and the bitterness of the dark onion sauce that accompanied it, salty potatoes, and the sweetness of my dessert (a smoked Japanese cheesecake).
Naturally in choosing my drink I opted for a whisky sour.
I wasn’t disappointed. Mr McGrath chose the name wisely.