Last Saturday, my friends Coco, Miss A and The Koala and I enjoyed a day of activities related to the beast.
Observing the beast
First, the girls and I joined up mid-day and went to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Auckland Museum. 100 photos from both professionals and amateurs wielding professional cameras amazed and inspired us.
Devouring the beast
Later that day, we joined up again, this time with The Koala in tow and feasted on beasts at Cazador – Auckland’s only game meat restaurant. I’d been dreaming of this animalistic day for a while. Looking at photos of beautiful birds and beasts and eating birds and beasts later. It’s a macabre pairing so I’m glad we let a good 6 hours pass between the two activities.
Cazador comes highly recommended by anyone that visits and was a wonderful experience. The food is cooked simply, letting the unusual ingredients shine. More on Cazador in my dedicated quick-fire review later today.
Like any good food blogger, I had studied Cazador’s latest menu prior to our visit. Their menu changes every 2-3 weeks and features 5 starters, 5 mains and 5 desserts. They also have glorious daily specials that can change your mind on a whim. I quickly found what I regarded as the most unusual item on the menu: Crumbed lamb’s brains with sauce gribiche, though The Koala also ventured into the unknown with plate of poussin hearts.
I had never eaten brains before.
To me, a picture of brains summons up zombie flicks and gore. I watch a lot of zombie movies and The Koala likes violet movies. Did I really want to eat brains? Yes. Yes I did.
When my plate arrived, it was unexpectedly lovely. No gore in sight. The deep fried crumbed pieces looked yummy, like they could be fish, or chicken or whatever people like to crumb and deep fry. Sauce gribiche is a classic French sauce (which probably inspired the creation of tartar sauce) and it is often served with fish. The sauce, the wedge of lemon and leafy salad did not give away the plate’s cerebral star.
What do brains taste like?
I was expecting the lambs brains to be a little slimy and maybe a bit wobbly. Like a cross between soft tofu and custard, barely set with a faint taste of lamb. I was dead wrong.
Eating with my closest friends is great, we all try each others’ plates so that food envy is not so painful. They even allow me to photograph their plates! So after collecting impressions from my friends and my own, here are our conclusions: Crumbed lamb’s brains are delicious. They are very similar to crumbed hoki, a deep sea fish similar in flavour and texture to cod. Suddenly the sauce gribiche (like tartar sauce) and wedge of lemon made a whole lot of sense. Hoki is used at McDonald’s in their Filet-O-Fish burgers, which is also crumbed and served with sauce. We felt like we were eating a fancy fish nugget!
The texture of brains isn’t exactly like fish, but it isn’t like meat either. It is richer than fish and a bit more creamy. It reminded me a little bit of a boiled egg yolk. When eaten with sauce gribiche and lemon, you could easily be tricked into thinking it is crumbed fish.
Would I eat it again? Hells yes. We cleaned that plate easily.
Would I attempt to cook it? Not yet. The idea of handling raw brains still gives me the heebies.
This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage bloggers to try new food related things. Lindsey from Sneaks and Sweets is the host for this month’s event.
If you have a blog and you are eating or cooking something new this month, click below to join. More information here.
I applaud you! I have had brains, but really, the texture was not for me. I don’t really remember the taste. It was mostly breading, I think. Your looked much better!
Did you have lamb’s brains in France?
We had breaded and fried lamb brains at a bistro in Paris and they were delicious! I’m disappointed in Daisy. 😉 Though I have to admit that our enjoyment was heightened by the opportunity to gross out our quite squeamish traveling companion. We can be bad that way. 🙂
No one at our table was grossed out. I was really proud of my dining companions.
No lamb’s brains. I did become very fond of calf’s liver…
I think the last time I had brains, I was in Wales.
After watching brains get cooked in MKR, im super keen to taste some myself! 😀
Congrats for eating brains! I’m still surprised that they call them brains on the menu.
I usually eat everything, (i’m a guest thats very easy to please, lol) but brains sort of make me uneasy. The first time I had it I was about 17, my Spanish grandmother made it. It wasn’t “camouflaged” like it was here, it looked just like brains. I couldn’t eat it. After that I’ve had it a few more times, sort of like how its served in your photo, and it was good. The only thing is that each time I remembered what it was, I sort of felt weird.
Eek! I don’t know if I could eat them if they looked like brains served on a plate.
I remember one time I was eating wonton noodle soup while watching a documentary that showed human brains preserved in jars. I really struggled with my wontons because they looked like brains. I don’t think I could eat brains that looked like brains. Not yet.
Indeed, that one time it looked like brains I couldn’t eat it. I only ate them again last year when I was served some and wasn’t told what it was lol!
Funny story with the wontons 🙂