So this is it. The end of an era. My friend Uwe Opocensky had decided to leave the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong after 9 years to pursue greener pastures. Besides passing the baton for the job of executive chef, this also means that both the Mandarin Grill + Bar as well as the Krug Room will be helmed by someone different.
As soon as I found out that Uwe was leaving, I rounded up a few friends who are also fans of Uwe's cuisine. We were lucky enough to be able to book the Krug Room for Uwe's last day at the Mandarin, and I figured we just had to be there to give him a proper send-off. I even asked Uwe for permission to BYO so that we could share some wines with him.
I was completely shocked to have gotten a ping from My Favorite
After the Fergies arrived, the 12 of us were led through the usual route to our dining room. We did have a couple of people who hadn't been here before, and the remark about the space looking like a vintage luxury train was spot on.
At the start of dinner, Uwe brought out this king crab from Norway. Scanning the QR code on her tag, Uwe was able to tell us that she weighed 4.9kg, was caught by a woman named Inge who owns a boat with a crew of 1... etc. The ladies felt that the crab needed a name, so they decided to call her "Ingrid the crab". She may have been sitting on ice, but she was still kinda moving around a little. Uwe lovingly petted her as he introduced her to us...
Sea bass baguette - I was kinda wondering why Uwe was slicing a baguette in front of us, when we realized that there was sea bass baked inside the baguette!
Pork - this was the same good stuff that Uwe served me early this year, and comes from a 5-year old French sow.
Beach - desserts in the Krug Room have always been a performance affair that takes up the entire long, marble table. We were asked to move to one side of the table while the chefs moved around to create it with edible sand, chocolate pudding that hardened in front of our eyes, pieces of chocolate, coulis,... etc.
Krug Grande Cuvée - I forgot to check the ID and find out the base year. Honestly, I would be happy to drink Grande Cuvée any day of the week... and often I prefer it to some of the other offerings from the House of Krug. Tonight I loved the toasty nose, and the way the maturity of the wine hit my palate.
1997 Philippe Delesvaux Carbonifera - as the back label states, this was harvested on October 30, 1997, with a whopping 27% potential alcohol and a ludicrous 459 g/L of residual sugar. As a reference, Yquem usually comes in at 1/3 of the amount of residual sugar... Totally unctuous, viscous in terms of texture. Loads of honey, nutty, and orange blossom turning into rich marmalade on the nose. Very, very sweet... getting to the point of tasting like honey. A real treat to have tasted this monster.
Since Uwe had many fans here tonight, we all took turns taking pictures with him. I'm not normally in the habit of "stamp collecting", but decided to make an exception and snap a few pics with Uwe. We will miss him at the Mandarin Oriental, but look forward to seeing him soon at his new venture!