September 17, 2016

Duck 'n' sole

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It's been a while since I last had a night out with the Tiggers, and took the opportunity to catch up this weekend.  After suffering a devastating loss to my 6-year old godson Bear in a board game, I badly needed something to cheer me up as I licked my wounds.  Thankfully dinner was at ON Dining Kitchen and Lounge, where we know we'd always get well-taken care of.

I knew in advance that Philippe would be out of town, but arranged with him to save me a duck.  I also wanted to take care of an itch I wanted scratched for a long time, and thankfully everyone kindly indulged me.

Our amuse bouche was sautéed sardine with tomato concasse, confit eggplant, and squid.  The sardine was fused with a thin wafer of toast on one side to make it crispy.  Not bad at all.

63° egg, frogs' legs, pearl barley, aged Comté - this was very, very rich... which wasn't at all surprising thanks to the Comté in the emulsion.  The egg, of course, was perfect and runny while ever-so-slightly browned on top with a torch.  It melded seamlessly with the silky and supple frogs' legs.  The chanterelles added a nice dimension of flavors, and along with the pearl barley brought some crunch.  The kitchen picked up the flavors a little with some finely diced chives and a sprinkle of piment d'espelette.

Normandy sole meunière, Parma ham, gnocchis, squids and oyster - ever since my first visit here, I'd always wanted to try out their sole meunière... but could never pull it off as we all ended up ordering individual main courses.  I finally got my wish tonight.  The dish was meant to be shared between two people, but given the size of this thing, I'll be surprised that anyone who takes half of this fish would have much room leftover for anything else.

Given the years that Jeremy has spent in world class dining rooms such as Le Cinq and Caprice, it was simply a pleasure to watch him take the bones and the wings out while dividing the fish into five not-so-equal portions.

The sole was plated and served with an interesting Royale (Brion?) oyster which had a nice balance between creamy and briny - similar to Gillardeau.  There were also little gnocchi, squid, diced lardon, and a slice of Parma ham.  The creamy sauce changed the flavors into something I did not expect.  This was a lot busier than I had expected, but very tasty.

Jeremy originally had the plate bearing the wing sections taken away to be discarded, but Babu and I would have none of it.  We wanted to be able to suck on them!  And this turned out to be a very, very good call... since the flavors of the lemon butter was unadulterated here.

Challans duck Apicius - I definitely wanted another taste of this after totally loving it at my last dinner here.

Challans duck Apicius: roasted peach, radish, turnip and almonds - the duck breast was PERFECT.  It was just incredibly soft and tender, perfectly juicy and succulent.  I could not have imagined that I was eating duck breast had I been blindfolded.  The lightly pickled radish and turnips, along with the peach, provided a nice touch of acidity to balance out the rich flavors of the roast duck.  Just love the combination of 14 different spices used here.

Challans duck Apicius: duck leg Parmentier - a month after my last visit, and they've already given me a different presentation of the Parmentier.  I've still got the shredded confit duck leg and the mashed potatoes, as well as the frisée, but tonight it's served with truffled jus as well as a Parmesan sauce.  Hidden among the frisée were bits of walnuts as well as some grapes soaked in whisky.

Roasted pigeon, artichokes, baby spinach and lemon chutney - I wasn't planning on having a piece of my favorite pigeon, but Tigger refused to take his share...  I simply can't rave about this enough... and the execution was still perfect.  Yes, it's still the best pigeon in Hong Kong.  That lemon chutney with coriander seeds just brings a little special something to the mix.

We were too full for the cheese - which came as a shock to Peter - so we just nibbled on petits fours.  The apricot jellies was nice, as were the financiers and the chocolates.

I assumed this wasn't a drinking crowd (since it usually isn't) so I just brought along one measly bottle.  Turns out someone was real thirsty tonight and we ran out of wine very quickly!

1996 Clos Erasmus - decanted and served after 10 minutes or so.  Nice and minty, smoky and earthy.  Very smooth but good concentration here even after 20 years, with nice acidity levels which were perfectly balanced.

Jeremy very kindly pour us glasses of a Châteuneuf-du-Pape because he couldn't bear the thought of us having game birds without any wine...

2012 du Banneret Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge - served at a perfectly chilled temperature.  Very peppery with a little animal notes.  Nice acidity here.

What a wonderful dinner tonight, and I'm so glad I finally brought the Tiggers here.  Once again I have Philippe, Jeremy, Nicolas, and Peter to thank for helping to make it a wonderful evening.  We'll be back soon!

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