The Seafood Elevation is available at Travelle in The Langham.
Photo: Martha Williams
After some delays, Travelle, the new restaurant in the Langham hotel, opened over the weekend. The “Mediterranean-inspired” restaurant is helmed by chef Tim Graham, who was at Tru for 10 years before closing Brasserie Jo and opening Paris Club.
“It would be a bit of a misnomer to say we’re a Mediterranean restaurant, since the Mediterranean goes from Southern Spain and France to Greece, Turkey, Albania,” Graham says. “And you can’t do all of that authentically. So what we did was source the place for inspiration. The sea itself provides the inspiration and we researched the countries and they formed the focus of our food direction.”
What that means is Travelle draws on Mediterranean ingredients, such as Turkish pepper paste. “One thing that’s amazing to me about this region is that it’s not lush by any means, but when things come to fruit, they come en masse,” he says. “It’s a bounty. There are Aleppo peppers in Turkey, and when they bloom the country turns red.”
So the peppers are made into a paste to preserve them. “It’s heavily salted and the water is drawn out, and you’re left with this fragrant red pepper paste that’s like sriracha or ketchup in our kitchens,” he says. “I marinate red snapper in it and cook it en papillote with fresh chickpeas, asparagus and leeks. I don’t know how much en papillote they’re doing in Turkey, but I’m taking that Turkish pepper paste as the starting point for this dish.”
The menu is seafood-heavy, with elegant elevations that feature raw oysters, crab legs and lobster tails. But we’re most intrigued by “seacuterie.”
“That’s our take on charcuterie,” Graham says. “We built a terrine out of smoked salmon and herb butter, like a terrine you’d find in a meat shop. We have boudin blanc, a sausage made from scallops. We have an octopus mosaic, which is our take on headcheese. There’s a lot of natural gelatin in octopus.”
Graham says there’s also a bouillabaisse terrine, which has shellfish in a gel base; whitefish rillettes, which he says are texturally similar to pork rillettes; and air-dried tuna and smoked sturgeon, which are a “play on prosciutto.”
On the dessert side, pastry chef Scott Green is putting his own spin on Mediterranean classics.
“There’s a lot about Mediterranean desserts that I don’t like,” Graham says. “The honey and rosewater and orange blossom water don’t speak to me, and he felt the same way. So for baklava, it’s filled with Nutella and hazelnuts. A lime panna cotta is served with cherries and ginger chips, like chips and dip. And there’s one dish that white chocolate and feta play off pomegranate. It’s Bulgarian and not too salty or acidic and it’s softer. I wouldn’t use it in cooking.”