December 26, 2014

Cheesy and creamy Boxing Day

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It's Boxing Day, and after being cooped up at home for a day, the Specialist decided to go out and stretch her legs a little.  It's been a while since we last met up, and I suggested that we check out a place she's been wanting to try - ON Dining Kitchen and Lounge.

I had turned down her suggestion (as well as other people's suggestion) to try this place earlier, but what I couldn't tell them was that I had scheduled to review the restaurant, and in fact I had already paid them a visit a few days ago.  It is uncharacteristic of me to want to visit a brand new restaurant so early, and even more unusual for me to pay repeat visits in short succession.  However, I've got full confidence in the team behind ON, and after my visit a few days ago, it's clear that there is absolutely no reason to wait...

We kicked off the evening with an ONegroni in the lounge upstairs.  Having tasted it a few days ago, I definitely wanted more.  This was just sooooo smooth... and packs a big punch, too!

After getting ourselves a nice buzz from the first drink, we walked down the stairs to our table by the window.  As soon as we were handed the menu, we were stunned to be told that they had already sold out of the roasted pigeon.  WHAT?!  That was hands down the best pigeon I had tasted in Hong Kong, and the bottle of wine we had would have been a perfect match.  This was truly disappointing...

We expressed our disappointment to my old friend Jeremy after we ordered our dishes, and a couple of minutes later, we were told that they had scrounged up an extra portion of pigeon - from sister restaurant Upper Modern Bistro, I presume?  Of course we told them that we'd take it!  Well, it's good to have friends, innit?!  Since I've already had the pigeon earlier, I let the Specialist take the last portion and ordered something else.

Once again, we got a little Parmesan cracker to start.

63° eggs, sautéed mushrooms, bisque and yuzu - I only had a small spoonful of this on my first visit, and I figured I owe it to myself to have the whole dish.  Soooo beautiful... For a somewhat chilly winter evening, I could not have started with a better dish.  The warm, hearty flavors of the mushrooms and the soft-boiled egg, enhanced with winter truffle shavings... and nicely balanced by the acidity and fragrance of yuzu (柚子) in the bisque.  The lobster also makes it a little less heavy.  I could eat this all day.

Ibérico lamb loin, white beans, garlic jus - I had reservations about ordering the loin, and after discussing with Jeremy, he asked the kitchen to leave a bit more of the fat for me.  The result was some very yummy, lamby, fatty lamb... with pearl onions on top and some nice garlic jus.  The lamb itself was very tender and slightly pink, although I could have taken it even a little more rare.

There was a side dish with white beans cooked with lamb, which was pretty nice.

When I first arrived, I told Jeremy that I had been eating well over the last few days, but had no cheese for a while... so of course that was going to be rectified tonight!  I asked him to pick out a few of his (and my) favorites...

Palet Cendrée - a goat's milk cheese from Poitou-Charentes.  Very thick and rich, with nice acidity.  Surprisingly it was very runny on the edge...

Claousou - a sheep's milk cheese from Aveyron.  A little bitter on the palate, with a hint of smokiness.

Coulommiers - very nutty and a little bitter.

Comté, aged 4 years - salty, creamy and nutty.

Cabri Ariégeois - O-M-G!!!!  This is one of my favorite cheese and you just can't beat this when it's all ripe and completely liquid... This was simply heavenly.  Very stinky, goaty, salty, with a bitter finish.

Époisses de Bourgogne - from the last remaining artisan to use lait cru (unpasteurized milk) after Gaugry started using pasteurized milk.  Very salty, rich, a little stinky with that ammonia...  Very, very ripe and runny!

2004 Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint Jacques - very lovely floral nose, with some sweet black cherries, but the acidity here was surprisingly high.

After finishing dinner, we joined some friends for a drink out on the patio, and I decided to try Kung Fu Panda.  I guess this was basically their variation on White Russian, made with vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, sambuca, pastis and cream.  There was just too much cream on top, which was much too heavy for someone who's just had a big dinner and lots of cheese at the end.  I also didn't quite care for licorice and star anise in my drink at this point...

Despite the less-than-perfect finish, this was still an incredibly enjoyable evening.  The food was superb, and we ended up running into friends and familiar faces.  Plans have already been made for a return next month, and I suspect some of us will be coming back pretty often...

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