One of the
So it was that I went back to Akrame tonight, for my third visit in two months. This is highly unusual in my book, although the second visit was at the restaurant's invitation while Chef Akrame Benallal was last in town. The Specialist wanted to go somewhere new, and while Cocotte was originally her first choice, it quickly became a non-option due to a combination of the restaurant's attitude during the reservation process, pricing considerations and
I was a little surprised at the Specialist, actually. Unlike me, she hates paying corkage, and I had made it clear to her and BFF that I had no pull with the restaurant whatsoever, so we'd better be prepared to pay full corkage. I guess her desire to try out a new restaurant eventually trumped her distaste for corkage charge... I was also surprised that she opted for the 6-course menu instead of the 4-course, and that prompted another friend and myself to also upgrade ourselves to 6 courses.
I was wondering why the service was slipping to the point where we weren't given any napkins, when the amuses bouches arrived on top of our folded napkins. A little gimmicky.
OK, call me a cheese snob, but I've been spoiled by Jeremy and many others who bring in artisanal cheese into Hong Kong. When your sister flagship restaurant has 2 macarons in Paris, the last thing I expected you to serve me was something out of a plastic pouch from Président. Dude, that's just one step up from serving me La vache qui rit... Not very grand at all.
Well, at least I had the desserts to look forward to...
I was, of course, having dinner with the Alcoholics, and we each brought a bottle of wine representing a different region in France. Thankfully one of us was able to bring a bottle of Rhône, which turned out to be the wine of the evening.
Here is where I confess to doing something I don't normally do. We were initially asked to put up a deposit for a larger party, and I decided to give out my blog email address for them to send me the instructions. I knew that my email address is in the restaurant's database, and figured that they would realize the reservation was being made by the terrorist blogger. Well, I think they did know who I was, which was probably why they very kindly waived the corkage for us tonight.
the last time I tasted this wine 6 years ago, when it blew me away by outperforming the grand vin itself. Of course, the Specialist will remind me that I bought this bottle from WineBid.com and not from a more "reputable" source...
While the service staff was very friendly and attentive, to be honest they fell a little short of my admittedly high standards. At a restaurant with no printed menus whatsoever, it is crucial that the waitstaff know exactly what is being served. Well, the staff don't always know the ingredients, which is a comment I had also heard from others. Their English could also be a little better, and I honestly had a little difficulty understanding their pronunciation of some of the ingredients. These are little details that, if they could work on it, would make things just a little smoother for me as a picky diner.
My next visit to Akrame may just have to wait until I have a chance to stop by Paris...