October 25, 2013

A quiet Friday evening

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It's been a while since I last caught up with Rice and his wife, and I wanted to see them to celebrate their anniversary, however belatedly.  Rice was busy galloping around the world for the last few weeks, and finally had time to meet up tonight.  As he left the choice of venue to me, I decided to revisit someplace that I'd been wanting to return to.

When I stopped by Island East Markets last Sunday to pick up weekly ration of organic veggies and bread, I purposely pretended not to see Grégoire even though I know he had spotted me.  He was chatting with Jeremy from Mirror, and since I had already booked Mirror as the venue for tonight, I chose to stay away.  I wasn't sure if Jeremy would recognize me, but I rather preferred to be dining incognito tonight.  Most of my friends haven't been back to the restaurant since its early days, and I wanted to see whether things have changed, as they've gone through the gaining (and subsequent losing) of a macaron.

Well, turns out that Jeremy wasn't even in town!  He'd flown up to Shanghai for something, and announced it on FB.  Incognito it is.

I arrived to find the restaurant mostly empty and quiet, and in fact it stayed that way on this Friday night, with all of 12 covers.  I suppose that was good for us, as there was no problem getting anyone's attention.

The amuse bouche tonight was beetroot panna cotta with blue cheese sauce and crispy beetroot.  Kinda interesting, and of course the sauce was pretty salty.  I did like the crispy bits on top.

L'œuf egg mollet, shrimp sauce, crab roes, shrimp salads, chives - this was not bad.  I found the combination of shrimp, crab eggs and shrimp sauce reasonably tasty.  Dunno why but I didn't expect the egg to come chilled...

Duck consommé, duck confits and French dumplings - very tasty.  Loved the bits of duck confit with their intense flavors.  The consommé itself was also very nice and clean.  Now why was there only one dumpling when the menu clearly stated it in the plural?!  That's false advertising...

Joue de boeuf from France, beef cheek slowly cooked for 60h, carrots, pearl onions and red wine sauce - the cheek was certainly pretty tender, but that sauce was just much too salty.  Thankfully there wasn't so much of it, and the carrot mash on the side helped neutralize things with its sweetness.

Pear flan, pear confite, wine jelly, cookies and caramel sauce - pretty tasty.  I really liked the little chocolate-covered rice crispies, and the whole thing is like a crumble.

I couldn't resist munching on these pretty yummy mango tarts at the end... as well as more of those little chocolate balls.  It's been too long since my last yummy dinner!

I brought a pair of wines to dinner, and Rice knew me well enough to guess that they would be from their anniversary vintage.  I was looking around for some aluminum foil in the office earlier, as I wanted Rice to taste them blind, but suddenly remembered I had these "wine condoms" that I got from the Specialist.  I slipped them on, and ended up putting two of them over one bottle as it was "leaking" and wasn't "safe" enough with just the one...

1997 Penfolds RWT - ripe on the palate but not too sweet.  Fruity, plummy, vanilla, coconut, a little smoky.  Could be from the Right Bank.  After 1½ hours the nose became really sharp and alcoholic, and also acidic.  Smoothed out and drank nicely after 2 hours.  I don't think I would have guessed this "Baby Grange" was a Shiraz... Not quite tasting as it should.

1997 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm - sweeter on the nose and palate compared to the RWT.  Also some coconut here as well as coffee.  More concentrated on the palate.  This is more like it!

Well, I'm glad I finally had a chance to go back to Mirror.  I thought the food was pretty solid and decent, but somehow I was expecting something a little more, and came away slightly disappointed.  I can't quite describe it, and perhaps it's a little unfair to feel this way, but for a place that once had - and aspires to regain - a macaron, I thought I was justified in demanding more from the kitchen.  I discussed this with a friend who - like me - hadn't been back for some time, and he agreed and found the food "a little boring".  I've tried getting a few other people to go to Mirror with me, but they hesitated as the feedback they got have been rather mixed.  Such is the dilemma in which the restaurant finds itself... They deliver solid food, but perhaps they've been forgotten by the dining public in Hong Kong constantly in search of the next new opening...

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