August 12, 2011

Rather amusing, indeed

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I recently commented on some photos on a friend's Facebook profile, and started a whole conversation about getting together to drink some wines.  One of the pictures was a bottle of 1961 Margaux.  I had offered to bring along a couple of bottles of wine, like I normally would, but quickly managed expectations by saying that I don't have any '61 Margaux in my cellar...

My friend very kindly offered to buy us dinner at Amuse Bouche, after feeling a little nervous when I asked her to choose a restaurant for us.  I had known about this place and the background of the partners for some time, but somehow never found myself stepping foot inside its doors.  I was, therefore, very much looking forward to trying it out.

There were 4, 5 and 8-course menus, as well as a list of individual dishes.  Not wanting to stuff myself with 8 courses and not finding much inspiration with the other choices, I decided to go à la carte.

The amuse bouche was tuna espuma with lemon, lemongrass and melba toast.  Flavor-wise it reminded me of canned tuna with lemon mayo.

Pan-fried king prawn and bucatini pasta scented with shrimp paste - I guess it was too much to wish for carabineros...  The bucatini was thick and firm, with plenty of bite.  The sauce was indeed based on shrimp and seafood, with tiny cubes of meat and strips of nori (のり) seaweed.  Reasonably tasty, but falls a little short of what I can get at 8½ Otto e Mezzo or Gold - both of which charges far more for their versions.

Duck confit served with sautéed potatoes and herbs salad, duck jus - pretty well-executed.  Skin was reasonably crispy, with a little bit of fat underneath.  The meat was moist and tasty.  Small pieces of scalloped potatoes were pretty yummy with a little bit of cheese gratin, but the herbs salad came with an over-generous sprinkling of salt.

Mango and pomelo pudding with sago soup, coconut ice cream (法式楊枝甘露) - well, this is just the classic Cantonese stuff, not sure there's anything "French" about it...  First we have the sago soup with mango sauce and pomelo pulp...

...then there's the mango and pomelo pudding which, as we all know, ALL gweilos love...

...and coconut ice cream which was pretty yummy.

Finally, we were served petits fours.  The green tea macarons weren't any good, as they were just too dry and hard.

These cookies, though, were much better.  The flavors of the butter shone through, and the poppy seeds and nuts added to the fragrance in one's mouth.

Thankfully both bottles I brought drank well tonight...

2005 Kongsgaard VioRus - I knew that I had waited too long to drink this bottle, and that there would be no floral notes left in the nose.  Nose of toasty oak, lemon, and straw.  Later on toasty popcorn.  Very ripe, alcoholic and burned a little.  Very lovely nose, and drank like a Kongsgaard Chard.

2004 Leroy Nuits-St-Georges - floral nose of rose and violet, along with toasty oak, animal and smoke.  Very lovely and beautiful.  I'll drink a bottle of this any day!

I thought the food was reasonably good, and it is true what a friend told me - that it's good for the price.  Hopefully next time I'll be more inspired to try out one of the set menus.

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