January 8, 2010

First long lunch of 2010

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It's the first Friday of 2010, and Lunch Club promptly organized a gathering at Amber to kick off the year.  While I have always had reservations about this place, the gang - including myself - was pretty happy about our experience here.

The two amuse bouches were the foie gras Chupa Chups-style and a shot glass with 3 layers of flavors - almond panna cotta at the bottom, herring roe jelly in the middle, and cauliflower cream on top.  While I detected the roasted nutty flavors of the bottom layer, it didn't taste anything like almonds.  The cauliflower was pretty rich and yummy.

My first course was fresh anchovies: marinated, over aubergine caviar, with fine Champagne.  I picked this because one rarely sees anchovies on the menu of fine dining restaurants.  The presentation was very interesting, like a puzzle with little garnishes that look like mini-M&Ms on top.  Beneath the anchovies was a layer of cucumber, with eggplant caviar sandwiched in-between.  The dollop of foam on top was flavored with Champagne and eggplant.

There was also some thinly-sliced eggplant tempura which were really nice and delicious.  The combination was great, but as the portion was a bit light this left me wanting...

I debated about which main course to take, and finally settled on the Iberian pork belly: lacquered with vintage Sherry vinegar-enhanced jus, kabocha pumpkin gnocchi and black trumpet mushrooms.  As it turns out, this was the choice for all of us today - no originality here!  The square block of pork belly arrived, looking very much like the braised versions in Chinese cuisine.  Of course the fat and the skin on top had been caramelized somewhat, so it was extra yummy.  The sweetness of the pumpkin gnocchi provided a strong contrast with the smoky and heavier flavors of the black trumpets - which were a good substitute to black truffles.  All four plates were wiped clean in no time.

We shared a couple of portions of the golden brown "ratte" potato confit.  Very nice.  The plate in front of me emptied in record time, as if someone had inhaled all the potatoes...

The kitchen sent out some lollipops made from coconut sorbet coated with chocolate.  Pretty nice and a good alternative to the "Oreos" they used to do.

For once I decided not to have something fruity and refreshing for dessert, choosing instead to go with the Jivara milk chocolate cream, condensed milk ice-cream and Gianduja foam.  I was in heaven...all the combination of chocolate, milk and hazelnut - each with a slightly different texture - came together as something divine. A perfect way to end the meal.

This was a great way to relax on Friday, and we didn't leave the restaurant until sometime past 3pm...  Hopefully we will have many more sessions like this!


Lambda said...

Yeah, I wonder where the potato went. They are so small!

Anonymous said...

So did you then go off for a McDonald's or something afterwards? In total that looks like a decent size starter.


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