October 15, 2010

Another light lunch

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It's been almost 6 months since Lunch Club last met, and we finally got around to organizing another meeting...at Caprice of course!  Lady Elf had put together some menu suggestions for a "light lunch", and I'd been getting a little self-conscious over the amount of my food intake recently.  I decided against the wild duck tasting that others have chosen and was all set to do just a main course + cheese. 

While we waited for everyone to arrive, the rest of us sat around, a little agitated that we hadn't been served with our beloved Bordier salted butter (and bread, of course).  Finally I could hold it in no longer, and asked the staff to bring us the butter - and only the salted version.  Four servings were subsequently placed on the table, but frankly that's nowhere near enough for the 6 of us.  There were 5 of us who practically inhale this stuff... and Mrs. Dyson promptly squirreled one away as her own.

I looked at the lunch menu and decided that for an extra HKD 50 I might as well have an extra course... so guess what I did?

Our amuse bouche today was a single Royale Cabanon oyster with shallot cream and yuzu granité.  The oyster itself was fat, creamy and slightly sweet - poached for two seconds.  The yuzu (柚子) granité was awesome, and I didn't mind one bit that I no longer tasted the brine in the shell.  What a way to kick off lunch!

Crab bisque, sudachi lime zest and shellfish roll - while the bisque is a French creation, this dish was all Japanese to me.  My first whiff of the soup revealed an element I didn't expect - ammonia.  The first thought which flashed through my mind was - heaven forbid - the crab wasn't fresh?!  But I quickly realized that the smell probably came from something else - crab tomalley, or more specifically kanimiso (かに味噌).  While crab roe in other cuisines smell rather mild, the Japanese tomalley - the green/grayish thick paste sometimes found on top of sushi - is actually pretty pungent and smells of ammonia.  I happen to love this stuff, so I happily lapped away.  In any case the sudachi (酢橘) zest helped offset some of the pungency.  Absolutely loved the bisque.  The crab meat sushi on the side looked interesting, and they were sweet and delicious with delicate flavors.

Braised wagyu beef shoulder, celery purée and seasonal vegetables in red wine sauce - I had a hard time choosing the main course, and asked Jeremy for help.   This is a classic dish, and is just like beef cheek minus the collagen.  My knife went through it like butter, and it pretty much melted in my mouth.  Absolutely lovely, but not exactly light...

It's been way too long and there was no way I was gonna pass up the cheese.  Jeremy was kind enough to present us with a generous selection (left to right, top to bottom):

Chèvre affiné au marc - like an Époisses but made with goat's milk.  Light, creamy and nutty in flavor and a little thick and dense.

Pavé de la Ginestarié - very intense and salty, with a bit of ammonia.  Soft and smooth in texture.  Everyone liked this...

Sainte-Maure - the ash on the outside gave it a more smoky flavor.  Rich and creamy and medium sweet.

Beaufort d’été - very sweet on the palate, although I could taste a little bit of the crystallized salt.  Nutty with dried fruit flavors.

Persillé de la Tarentaise - probably the least favorite for the group including myself.  Salty, pungent, kinda plasticky.

Coulommiers - certainly one of my favorite cheese in the world, and this one was really, really ripe and runny.  Just look at this picture taken by someone else at the table... Is that amazing or what?!

Comté - Jeremy knows I never get tired of this... Just look at those salt crystals... Wonderful.

We finished with some petite madeleines, dipped in very yummy sauce...

Does it get better than a 3-hour lunch on a Friday?

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