October 16, 2012

Lunching with vultures

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A few friends were having lunch at Caprice today, and very kindly invited me to join them to fill out a table of four.  I was, of course, only too happy to accept the invitation and return to one of my favorite places in town.

We were informed that the menu was changing tomorrow, so today would be the last chance to savor some of the dishes.  With that in mind, we dispensed with the set lunch and picked out dishes from the à la carte menu.

As usual we found these savory canelés on our table.  Love the anchovies and olives inside.

Spelt emulsion with ox tail and ox tongue - our amuse bouche.  The emulsion was spiced with a little cumin.  Both the little cubes of ox tail and ox tongue were tender and delish, with a little dab of Pommery mustard on top.  There was also a nice piece of crispy puff pastry made with spelt.

Landaise warm tart, duck ham, gizzard and foie gras in merlot wine vinegar - I was trying to cut down on my intake, and did not order a starter while those around me decided to enjoy a full lunch.  I was therefore very surprised to find this dish magically appearing in front of me.  I was kindly reminded by Jeremy that this was a "thin layer of pastry" with "thin slices of magret" and healthy greens.  After taking a quick look, my dining companions decided this was actually a taco, with rabbit food on top...

Even though it didn't jump out at me from the menu, this turned out to be a nice surprise.  The thin strips of magret de canard, thin shavings of foie gras pâté, and the chewy bits of gizzard were all nice. There was a little bit of cheese on top of the pastry, which was OK.  Love the garnish around the plate, though, since it was sour and balanced things out.

After this, I announced that I was no longer hungry.  At this point the vultures on both sides of me began eyeing my food, especially the one on my left who wanted my extra sesame roll to scoop up the sauce left in her bowl.  In the end she resorted to using her finger, as was expected of her.

Larzac suckling pig, andouillette, boudin noir, buttered Savoy cabbage and carrot purée - 3 of us looked at this and immediately knew it was what we wanted.  In truth, it was slightly disappointing…

This was dry, and the crackling was no longer crispy.

This was much better, with a lot more flavor, too.  There were thin strips of foie stuffed in the middle.

This was a lot like the andouillette that Chef Vincent made for us a few years ago.  The stuffing today included mushrooms which lent their fragrance, and the whole thing was pretty yummy.  The thin slice of pork belly was pretty good, too.

I love boudin noir, but this was a little over-seasoned for my taste.  I had to rely on the sweet carrot purée to balance things out a little, and took extra sips of water…

I did love the Savoy cabbage, and wished that there was a lot more of it.  I was taking my time with my food while the flanking vultures quickly dispensed with what was on their plates.  They continued to eye my plate, telling me that I shouldn't be eating it because it really wasn't any good…  While I focused my attention on defending the plate in front of me, someone swooped in and took bites out of the sesame roll that was on the bread plate on my side…

We were all reasonably full and passed on both cheese and dessert.  At this point Jeremy and his team must have wondered about what was wrong with us… since we would never turn down cheese!  Eventually he decided to take it upon himself to help fix whatever was causing our minds to go a little loopy… by sending over dessert...

Blackcurrant marmalade, crumble, chestnut ice cream - this was pretty good.  Loved the marmalade, and the chestnut ice cream was good.  There was also raspberry coulis along with beet root slices, beet root flavored crackers, and candied chestnut.

A pretty satisfying meal, and I ended up eating more than I had planned to.  One of the vultures reminded me that I was meant to be on a diet, but I put the blame squarely on Jeremy today.  C'est pas ma faute!!

But… it's good to be back in Hong Kong.  Merci, Jeremy!

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