Panacea is Latin for remedy of all disease or ills, which according to my religion, is the perfect name for a restaurant. Food solves all problems. When I go through a break-up, I eat. When I've lost my job, I eat. My attendance at Panacea was to catch up with friends but it also turned out to be quite therapeutic.
I arrived to the restaurant finding one friend already there. The others were coming late, but they were quite late in the end. This led to a free combined therapy session of me pouring the last six months of my life to my friend, and a serotonin-inducing banter with a jovial waiter. The waiter attended to us very intimately, for water, about the menu, or to just check up on us while we waited. The waiter was so patient. By the time we had all arrived, he would have explained the menu to us on four separate occasions. So Panacea, even before the food came, was already living up to its name.
Plenty of water was topped up by our waiter while I had my therapeutic session
We ordered sangria to go with our therapeutic session. We were given lots of crostini with cultured butter. The butter was divine. I've never seen a restaurant so generous with bread so I loaded up on carbs.
Plenty of Crostini with cultured butter (I already ate some)
Our entrée tasting plate had stuffed baby squid with tomato sugo and lemon zest, semolina and blue cheese puffs with basil aioli and grilled rolled eggplant with fetta cream and herbs. The squid was sublime; it was soft and flavoursome with a zing from the lemon. The puffs were slightly charred, with just enough blue cheese not to overpower the dish. The crispy and chewy texture of the rolled eggplant against the melting fetta cream was a perfect combination.
Entree tasting plate of squid, semolina and cheese puffs, and eggplant roll
For main, I had rabbit tagine with quinoa and yoghurt dip. The rabbit was coupled with aromatic spices, whilst the quinoa was tossed with sultanas and almonds. The contrast of the sautéed rabbit against the light quinoa salad and the tangy yoghurt all balanced very well. I would have preferred the rabbit to have a little bit more oomph but overall, the dish was very good.
The baby squid was baked in olive oil, garlic, chilli, potato and chorizo, served with crostini. Unfortunately for my friend, this dish needed more flavouring. Olive oil was a major component of this dish, but to have so much of it as a main course made it quite, well, oily.
Baked baby squid with potato, chorizo and crostini
We also had baked gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce with rocket, pear and walnut. They had to cook this dish twice. The first time, the gnocchi was dry and they didn't even bring it out. I'm not sure whether the second time was better. The gnocchi itself was chewy, and the dish needed more rocket and pear to counteract the richness of the cream sauce.
For dessert, we were served vanilla panna cotta with honeycomb and chocolate sauce. It was beautifully presented and happily consumed. This dish was faultless, the consistency of the panna cotta was spot on, the honeycomb was crunchy and the chocolate sauce was decadent. It was the perfect dish to end the night.