Whether it’s the lingering umami of shiitake mushrooms or the taste of beef fat on an aged rib-eye that’s hot off the charcoal grill, there are many flavours that interest and excite me. It could be the classic combination of spring lamb with garlic and rosemary, the purity and subtleness of a perfectly made dashi, or even my grandma’s chicken noodle soup. At the moment, it’s the taste of fish eggs – in all their forms! From oscietra caviar to the humble trout egg, I love the different elements they can bring to a dish. Be it a bowl of linguine finished generously with grated bottarga or the fresh trout eggs we’d receive at Faviken, which were lightly salted and served with blood cream.
I remember very clearly the revelatory experience of eating Ikura (salmon eggs) at Sushi Harutaka in Ginza. They were lightly marinade in aged soy and sake and delivered an indulgent oceanic mineral hit that lasted for minutes. The first time that I tasted Kalix Löjrom – or bleak roe – in Sweden also sticks in my mind. These small orange eggs burst with a delicate flavour and, interestingly, are the only Swedish product to have PDO status.
Whatever your preference, simple is always effective. For me, happiness is a slice of grilled sourdough spread with unpasteurised salted butter, topped with a generous helping of smoked cod’s roe and finished with a crack of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Tom Kemble, Bonhams Restaurant (London, UK)