July 6, 2009

...so is it Italian or French??

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I'm back in Hong Kong today, and I've made plans for dinner at the Drawing Room. It was a chance for me to re-test the restaurant's cuisine while my friends got to try it for the first time.

We didn't bring our own wines this time, so I ordered a bottle of 2005 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley off the list. This just couldn't get any more Californian... huge nose of iron & minerals, orange, tropical fruits, very sweet and jammy, extremely ripe both on the nose and the palate. The nose was also very alcoholic, although it weighs in at just under 15%. A very different beast from the likes of Kistler and Marcassin.

For food I ordered the 4-course menu instead of the 6-course, as I've been eating way too much in Shanghai. Apparently each menu item can also be ordered a la carte. We were first served the amuse bouche - a mixture of long strands of seaweed which I mistook for homemade pasta and diced cauliflower. The taste of the ocean dominated and I kinda liked it.

Quail and foie gras with fig - the quail was really tender and juicy, done just about perfectly. The foie gras was very interesting - very charred on the outside and almost black - but really creamy and runny inside, almost liquid-like. The fig was actually not very sweet, which was a bit disappointing.

Angel hair with sea urchin, porcini mushrooms and asparagus - all the ingredients were there: wonderfully cooked angel hair, yummy porcini and very fresh-looking sea urchin that was very creamy and sweet. Individually the execution of each was very well done. But somehow the combination didn't quite click. The flavors were pretty heavy and it just didn't feel really harmonious in the mouth. It wasn't a bad dish, but I just wish it were better.

Challans duck breast and duck leg confit and duck ravioli - the duck breast was tender and moist, but looked just like any other duck breast I can find. The duck leg "confit" was a different matter...the meat was dry and tough, but it didn't have that traditional confit taste or consistency. My friend who ordered the same dish left most of it untouched. I think both of us were disappointed with this one.

But the one saving grace here were the three little raviolis floating in a nice consommé. Take one bite and all the juices burst out into your mouth, much like some of the Chinese dumplings.

Since I've OD'd on this dessert many years ago, I gave away my molten chocolate cake.

Service here was a bit mixed. While some of the staff were attentive and impressed us, a few of them turned out to be pretty useless. The worst part is that we had problems understanding their English and had to ask them to speak to us in Cantonese, then realized things actually didn't get much better...

After the second visit, the same question still lingers in my mind: is this really an Italian restaurant? I heard about the Drawing Room a couple of months before it opened, and it has always been classified as Italian. But take one look at the menu and you'll find that half of what's on offer actually sounds more French. OK, so you get the same solid food regardless of how you want to classify the cuisine, but it's still a bit confusing...

1 comment:

Shermoo said...

is "just" a stable hotel-restaurant...

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