March 19, 2011

Lunch Club Saturday

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It's been a whole 5 months since Friday Lunch Club last had its gathering, so we finally got around to organizing lunch on a Saturday.  One of us is a VIP at Cépage, and I was happy to finally have a chance to revisit the restaurant.  A lot has happened since my initial visit almost 2 years ago, with new chef Sebastien Lepinoy (ex- L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon) at the helm and a macaron in the latest Red Guide.

I arrived rather late to find plates of Cinco Jotas jamón ibérico on the table.  This wasn't particularly fatty, but was still tasty nonetheless.

There were also slices of toast and finely diced tomatoes, with which we could make our own pan con tomate.

Almond panna cotta with orange juice - starting with a sweet amuse bouche kinda threw me off a little, but this was actually pretty decent.

Corn "soup" with caviar - the corn flavors were pretty intense, leading me to joke about eating a can of Green Giant... The caviar came from Qingdao (青島) in China.

La Saint-Jacques de Tasmanie, cuit dans un beurre «Bordier» aux algues - the mere mention of my beloved seaweed butter from Bordier, and I was sold on this dish.  The scallops looked impressive, but the execution was not perfect.  I would have preferred them to be a little more mi-cuit, as they were slightly overdone for my taste.  The butter, however, was incredibly yummy... and I eagerly soaked up the leftover butter with some bread.

Le canard rôti et confit, purée de pomme de terre cappuccino truffé - nobody was surprised that I picked this one... This wasn't your classic duck confit, but rather something which I've had at L'Atelier...  Yummy, shredded duck meat was placed at the bottom, covered by a layer of creamy mashed potato and sprinkles of black truffle.  A little heavy, and I was glad the portion wasn't much bigger.

I skipped cheese, and had la fraise en harmonie parfaite, avec une douceur blanche et un petit pain de Gênes.  I was attracted by the lychee/raspberry sorbet, but the rest of the dessert was only so-so...

The mignardises selection was impressive...  I immediately grabbed a canelé, as the one I had here 2 years ago was one of the best I've had in Hong Kong.  I was not disappointed today, and would go on to have another.  The mini madeleines looked a little better than last time, and were indeed better... but still failed in my book as well as Froggie's...  The rest of the items were generally fine, except...

...for a strand of "hair" stuck to a piece of marshmallow.  Definitely a turn-off.

Since this was a Saturday and nobody needed to go back to work, I decided to bring some wine for this relaxing lunch.

2006 William Fevre Chablis Le Clos - big and open nose, with lots of flint, minerals and oak. Actually sweet on the nose, which was a bit surprising to me. This drank beautifully.

1996 Robert Mondavi 30th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon - very minty, grassy, very sweet and jammy, concentrated and smoky. A beautiful wine.

A very relaxing meal, enjoyed with great company.

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