Restaurant Review: Social by Heinz Beck
Last week marked my fourth wedding anniversary and the launch of my husbands new business, sublime excuses to treat ourselves to culinary delight. In a city littered with Michelin star chefs, but no Michelin star restaurants – a curious dichotomy, we had our pick of fine dining establishments. Opting for European fare we ventured to the outer most crescent of the Palm to celebrate at Social by Heinz Beck. A restaurant led by a chef not only famous for his modern gastronomy but also for his Italian treasure, La Pergola, Rome’s only three-Michelin starred restaurant.
The grand Waldorf Astoria houses Social which occupies a sprawling space draped in walnut surfaces and beige upholstery, simple and effortless elegance. Beck’s unique culinary approach extends far beyond the plate at Social where he has completely redefined the meaning of open kitchen, an automatic sliding glass door is the only thing that separates the chefs workshop from diners. As the transparent door retracts, the behind the scenes bustle and subtle aromas of the industrial kitchen are revealed, quite literally inviting guests into the chefs world.
The ambiance was intimate and relaxed when we arrived with a handful of other patrons, we were greeted by a champagne trolley as we sat down. I scanned the menu in fascination, stopping at the Duck foie gras with apple, almonds, and amaretti and again at the Celery risotto a la Waldorf, a signature dish of the Waldorf internationally. Several inquisitions later, our order was placed and we indulged in saffron and wasabi prawn crackers awaiting the main event.
A variety of amuse bouche (pictured above) arrived quickly, staring at me in unity and confidently awaiting their demise. The beetroot macron with wasabi cream danced gracefully across my taste buds. It was hard to believe I just consumed some variation of cake as the root vegetable and wasabi aroma swept through my nasal passage. A set of silver spoons with liquefied olives were the next victims, the opaque spheres had the consistency of water balloons. A mere puncture of the exterior and the curious hor d’oeuvre ruptured with olive juice much to my amusement, perfectly embodying the word amuse bouche which translates literally to “mouth amuser.” The first word that sprung to mind was inventive. I impatiently awaited the courses to come.