November 5, 2017

Losing at the Derby

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I had missed out on the last MNSC dinner due to the Parental Units being in town, so I was really looking forward to dinner with the boys tonight.  Unfortunately I managed to catch myself a cold a couple of days ago, so I found myself at a blind tasting with a runny nose.  Not a good place to be...

Lord Rayas chose to host tonight's dinner at the Derby Restaurant in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley Clubhouse.  I've been here a few times in the last couple of years, but my visits have all been meals with guest chefs... so this would be a good time to see what the resident chef can do.

Smoked salmon cannelloni - pretty nice.

Deep-fried crab ball - lots of potato inside and a dab of wasabi on top.

Scrambled egg, shaved white truffles - Lord Rayas and I were kinda bitching about how expensive white truffles were this season thanks to the dry season leading to low yields.  We also felt that some of the truffles we had recently were also not of great quality.  Well, the 4 grams or so that had been shaved on top of our oeufs brouillés were pretty nice.  Certainly fragrant enough for me.

And very nice to spread on toast...

Roasted Australian jumbo quail, granola, sweet and sour bell pepper -  the quail was OK, not that special, but the sweet and sour bell pepper coulis made things a little more interesting.  So did the granola mixed in with the potato cubes.

Butter poached Boston lobster tail, linguini, seaweed crouton - this was DELICIOUS!  The execution of the lobster tail was flawless, and the linguine was fine.  But the sauce!  Ohhhh myyyyy!  That was worthy of some plate-licking.  The seaweed croûtons and what seemed to be julienned black truffles were tasty, too...

We sent back the little shot of sorbet that the restaurant prepared for us to cleanse our palates.  We didn't need the extra calories.

Roasted U.S. super prime rib, roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables - I still don't know what "super" prime rib is, other than the fact that these were two big hunks of meat...

Nice and smoky on the outside, and good doneness in the center.  Just enough fat in some parts.  Too bad I was way, waaaay too full to even polish off half the beef.

Cigarette ring, strawberry, lemon balm foam - the boys were joking about "the ring", and when this arrived I had no idea why it was called a "cigarette ring".  This was pretty nice, as the acidic lemon foam came slightly smoky.  Underneath we had what seemed like strawberry compote, with a black fruit gel.

Petits fours

Lord Rayas, of course, was his usual generous self... and prepared a fantastic and "technical" lineup of wines for us.

1973 Bollinger - no bubbles whatsoever by now.  Very oxidized, heavy salty plum nose, a little stinky even, with a little sugar cane.  Interesting on the nose but not on the palate.

Flight 1: opened 1 hour without decanting prior to serving.
1973 Ridge Monte Bello - a little sweet grass, smoke, a little banana, some fragrant wood notes.  Acidity showed up on the palate on the second pour.  95 points.

1973 Vega Sicilia Unico - a little burnt rubber at first, with some coffee and sweeter notes later.  Still a little tannic but fairly smooth overall.  94 points.

Flight 2: opened for 2 hours without decanting prior to serving.
1979 Rayas - sweet and fruity, some leather notes, but very clean.  95 points

1981 Rayas - a little burnt rubber?  Sweet fruit here, too.  93 points.

Flight 3: decanted for 2 hours prior to serving.
2004 Rayas - sweet fruit, minty, fragrant, floral and potpourri notes.  A little grippy on the palate.  94 points.

2004 DRC Grands Échézeaux - a little stinky at first but lovely.  Sweet fruit, stemmy, dried herbs, leather notes, a little soapy and floral.  Beautiful!  98 points.

Flight 4: decanted for 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to serving.
1990 Tertre Roteboeuf - stinky, with leather and animal notes, smoky, and a little stewed prunes.  Sweet on the palate.  93 points.

1990 Troplong Mondot - smoky, a little stinky.  Also a little sweet on the palate.  90 points.

Many thanks to Lord Rayas for the wonderful arrangement, even though my runny nose and cold impeded my blind-tasting abilities tonight...

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