November 13, 2013

An old friend's new digs

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It was time to meet up with Mo' Unni again, and it's been nearly two months thanks to my diet and limited allocation of cheat meals.  She has a preference for checking out new venues, and wanted to go to Upper Modern Bistro.  I've known Philippe Orrico since his days at Pierre, and followed him to St. George a couple of times.  Over the last couple of years, though, I lost touch with him as I didn't care for the surroundings nor the service at St. George.

So I was pretty happy to hear that he's come out to open up his own place, and on the island, too!  As it happens, the mug that I use daily in the office looks like this…

...which is a picture that Tigger took in the kitchen at Pierre, on a day when we were horsing around after a cooking lesson.  Philippe was channeling his inner Gordon Ramsay, and I was his victim… But I digress…

I pinged Philippe, asked for a table some 3 weeks in advance (yes, I plan my meals up to 4 weeks in advance nowadays, thanks to my diet…) and happily reported back to Mo' Unni.  We both had something to look forward to over the next few weeks.

I arrived and was seated with a view of the interior of the restaurant, facing the famous "egg shell" decor.  I know how much Philippe loves eggs, and I fully appreciate the beauty and meaning behind the ceiling.

We didn't want to make life complicated, so we chose à la carte for something simple.  I advised Mo' Unni to take the 63° eggs, as Philippe is known for his eggs.   I also saw people posting pictures of the braised beef cheek and recommend that, too.

Brittany oyster, ponzu - Philippe very kindly sent this out from the kitchen.  Pretty full in terms of flavor, with plenty of minerals and a hint of metallic flavors.  Works nicely with ponzu (ポン酢).  I tried in vain asking the waiter what type of oyster this was, and the reply was "Brittany oyster"…  I guess he didn't know that Brittany is just a region and I was looking for something more specific…

Next came something that didn't seem to be on the menu, and as this was comped and our server didn't bother to tell us what it was, I had no idea…  What I did know was that it wasn't something I would normally order, since there was clearly a piece of fatty tuna belly, along with tuna chunks, eggplant and tomato.  Normally I'd offer it to my fellow diners since I'm avoid any kind of tuna that could be bluefin, but I was dining with No Fish… so I ate it and tried not to feel guilty about eating this tasty morsel.

Homemade venison terrine, green salad with walnut - it's game season and I'll order venison whenever I see it.  The terrine was pretty nice, and I happily spread it on the piece of toasted brioche.  The salad on the side also had some truffle shavings…

Mushroom tagliatelle, poached egg, bellota and Parmesan + shaved Alba white truffle - it's white truffle season, so how could I resist?

Of course there was an egg… There's no better combination than white truffle, egg, cream and pasta!  The jamón provided some nice savory complexity.

Mo' Unni was in the mood for cheese, so we asked for the cheese selection.  Once again the waiter didn't know the selection… but I guess there is only one Caprice in Hong Kong…  We asked for Philippe instead.

Pérail de Brebis - from Aveyron.  Salty with noticeable acidity and a spicy finish that leaves the tongue tingling.

Reblochon - nice, but seems almost pedestrian in comparison.

Langres - milder in terms os saltiness, nutty, a little bitter with a long, intense finish.  The rind was very salty.

Tomme de Chèvre de Savoie - pretty strong.  There is a layer of grape must on top.

Napoléon - from the Pyrénées.

Regalise (?) - this was a type of blue, which was really strong and salty.


1995 Remirez de Ganuza Reserva - pretty ripe, plummy, a little smoky.  Very smooth on the palate.

I thought the food was pretty solid, although the service could use some tweaking.  The waiter took my wine away to be decanted, then chucked away the bottle… which I was unhappy about.  We had a pretty good evening overall, and I look forward to coming back… hopefully with Tigger.

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