Under the direction of head chef Andrew Borg, the kitchen at Risette is setting the standard for fine dining with a fusion of traditional and modern techniques. The passion for the finest and freshest produce pervades from farm to fork and the menu changes with the seasons, in fact it is not uncommon for the menu to change on a weekly basis so only the very best makes it to the table at Risette.
Wagyu in Japan is just the term for beef. Its price tag comes courtesy of the intensive rearing methods required to obtain the Wagyu mark.To achieve this grade the cattle must not only be from certain breeds but also must be fed and reared according to strict guidelines. Breeding cattle as well as pregnant cows are grazed on pastures while the calves are fed with a set diet to a specific timetable to ensure that the meat delivers that marbled effect. Wagyu calves are fed by hand by a milk replacer and wear little coats when the weather turns chilly. The calves stay on farms until they are seven months old and at that point, they are sent to auction to be sold to fattening farms to complete the rearing process. On the fattening farms Wagyu cattle are raised in barns and unlike other livestock they are named, not numbered, and every cow will also have a birth certificate which will identify its bloodline so you can trace it back to the farm of its birth. They are also kept on a diet of rice straws, whole crop silage and concentrate. The process takes around three years, and, in the end, they will weigh up to around 700kg. There is an urban myth that Wagyu cattle are fed beer and are massaged daily. This is not part of the certified process; however, it is true that they are on occasionally brushed with a stiff brush to increase blood flow and relieve stress. Wagyu is world renowned as the best cut of beef as when cooked to perfection it will simply melt in the mouth. Wagyu beef at Risette is imported from Uruguay and it most definitely cooked to perfection by Andrew and his team, so expect nothing short of a silky melt in the mouth sensation from this dish.
John Dory certainly is not an attractive fish. It is a rather flat, spiny, unappealing creature to look at when it first arrives in the kitchen. John Dory is mild in taste and very low in fat and as the fish is rather thin and has a large head the meat yield is rather low, generally only a third of its body weight in fact.It is also not easy to come by in Malta as it is mainly found in the north Atlantic and cooler waters in the South Pacific and is generally landed in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, but you will find whenever John Dory is on the menu at Risette it is filleted and paired beautifully with Jerusalem artichokes, romanesco and mussels, sauce vin jaune.
New Zealand Ribeye of Beef
New Zealand is famous around the world for its beef. Its quality, tenderness and taste are considered by many to be without compare. The beef is lean thanks to the cattle being grass fed and sustainably free-range. This is of course in large part due to the extensive pastures available in New Zealand as well as the very favourable climate in the southern hemisphere. This superb cut of meat is produced by the farmer to be a premium product and the team at Risette will always do this justice when it is served. In an example from the Risette menu, the meat is faultlessly paired with fermented and roasted heritage beetroot, puntarella.
Tartare is a light dish usually consisting of raw fish. Whereas salmon and tuna tartare are rather common dishes in restaurants, prawn tartare is rather rare. In Risette’s kitchen you will often see prawn tartare prepared with the freshest prawns. These succulent prawns are not cooked as they are so fresh this would in fact detract from the taste – the Turnip royale with scallop and prawn tartare and shellfish velouté brings out all the flavour and vibrancy of these ingredients on to the plate.
This dish is considered to be one of French cuisine’s finest, which given France’s gourmet heritage, that is saying something. The dish is decadently made with a whole duck. The confit is prepared in a process of preservation that goes back many centuries. The duck is cured in salt, garlic and herbs and then cooked in its own fat. It is then covered and refrigerated for up to 36 hours. Here the Duck confit is mouth wateringly set with sweet potato terrine, date and black sesame, a twist on this timeless French classic.
Onglet of Beef
Onglet is the French name for a cut of beef known in English as a hanger steak, far more enticing in French though we think. The cut comes from the lower belly and is no longer seen very often on menus. It however is sometimes referred to as Butcher’s steak, because it is said that butchers recognise its far superior taste and keep it for themselves and their families. The taste really does pack a beefy punch with hints of liver and kidney. This unusual cut is harmonised by the Risette team with black garlic, peas and chanterelles to bring all the elements to life on the palate.
Venison loin is naturally very low in fat and in calories, but high in protein, vitamins and minerals. A real super food. It tastes a little like game and it is super tender, in fact far more so than beef. This stunning cut of meat is matched on the menu with black garlic and brussel sprouts to bring out all the flavour of this delicacy.
Aged Entrecote of Beef
Entrecote is a French word again this time for a beef steak that is the cut from between the ribs. Dry aging of meat is what then sets it above the rest, it improves the taste greatly with the passage of time. In very simple terms dry aging results in a lot of the water from the beef evaporating therefore the remaining meat has a far more concentrated flavour. The beef also through the process becomes more tender, so flavour coupled with a melt in the mouth sensation is a real win-win situation. The kitchen’s at Risette have two popular variations for this cut, the first being with white onion gratin and trompet de mort and the second is with Australian black truffles, coffee and garlic. Both utterly delicious and highly recommended so which ever is on the menu when you visit Risette it is yet again a win-win situation.
This is just a taster of the work of the team at Risette. New ingredients, pairings and recipes are always being sorted out tirelessly, and the natural rhythm of the seasons dictates what is on the menu as only the finest will do. However, you will find if these items are not on the menu there will be something equally sumptuous to delight your taste buds.