March 13, 2014

Falling far from the tree

Pin It

The last time Mo' Unni and I went exploring new restaurants together had been some time last year, so we thought it's high time that we resumed our tour.  A few of my friends had checked out the local branch of Akrame when it first opened last year, and since the Parisian original just picked up its second macaron, it seemed like perfect timing for us to try it out.

I wanted to find out a little more information about Akrame Benallal as he seems to be the talk of the town - in Paris at least.  So I looked up the restaurant's website, which turned out to be annoying uninformative.  Clicking on the tab entitled "The Chef" (or "Le Chef" on the Parisian website) showed short, fashion shoot-like clips of the man... without any words offering any sort of information.  OK, I'm sure the guy thinks he's good looking, but that part of the website just doesn't do anything for me...

For me, this dinner kinda started off on the wrong foot.  I was rushing to the restaurant as I was running late, and I was a little flustered when I arrived at the table.  Gotta say I wasn't exactly thrilled to discover that I would be sitting on a stool for my dinner, since back support is always important over the course of a couple of hours.  Sitting on a stool also meant I wasn't able to drape my jacket over the back of my chair, and since the staff wasn't very interested in helping me do anything about my jacket, I ended up piling it on top of my bag, which was already on the floor next to me.  This from a guy who has 2 macarons in Paris?!  Not exactly very grand...

We decided to choose the more compact, 4-course menu.  I had a big lunch and will be eating tons over the next 10 days, so I'm happy to tone it down tonight.  But first, we have a series of amuses bouches:

Olive with Greek yogurt

Squid ink and sesame crisp with smoked eel - very nice.

Parmesan cookie with salmon roe - tiny salmon roe, and there was a surprising amount of acidity here.

Celery and anchovy

Celeriac foam with chocolate, bread crumbs, onions and celeriac cubes - this was pretty nice.  Loved the onion purée at the bottom and the celeriac cubes.  The rye bread crumbs also added texture.

Razor clams with baby spinach, with ginger and lemon sauce, ginger and lemon foam - pretty good, too.  Interestingly came with shredded radish, and definitely had that Asian twist in terms of flavors.  Not sure why I forgot to take a picture of this...

Deep-fried snapper with beet root purée - the U.S. snapper was first steamed before being deep-fried, and the scales certainly showed a little crispiness.  This was OK but unremarkable.  Uwe does a much better job with deep-fried scales at the Mandarin Bar + Grill.  Not surprising, then, that No Fish wasn't a fan.

Slow-cooked iberico pork loin with yogurt sauce and vinaigrette - the pork was marinated in maple syrup, and was definitely tasty in terms of flavors.  The pork was lean but still tender.  Served with cabbage compote and baby bok choy.

After four savory courses, we then moved on to a series of desserts:

Pineapple carpaccio, margarita sorbet - pretty nice and slightly alcoholic.

Licorice pudding, frozen yogurt, brown butter foam - yum!  The beurre noisette was so tasty, and the very mild flavors of licorice just worked perfectly with everything else.  This made me happy.

Chocolate mousse with Champagne and raspberry sauce - this was pretty good, with a few flakes of fleur de sel on top of the crisp.

The petits fours consisted of lemon cookies as well as a block of dark chocolate with sea salt.

The chocolate was definitely salty, but I found it interesting enough.

I brought along a bottle of wine for this dinner.  It's not ultra-serious, but nevertheless a very good wine in its own right.

1997 Pahlmeyer Red - pretty full-bodied, alcoholic and ripe.  Still pretty tannic after all these years.  Minty with potpourri notes.  Not bad but could actually use a little more aging.

Well, I thought I got a decent meal for the price I paid for it.  There were certainly no fails tonight, but there was also no magic, either.  For a guy who caused a stir by getting a macaron only a year after opening his first restaurant, his Hong Kong outpost didn't exactly deliver.  I certainly had higher expectations, and I doubt that I'm the only one.

And the service, while polite and friendly, also fell short of expectations.  What kind of restaurant lets its guests put their jackets on the floor?!  It doesn't matter how polite they were to me, or how sharp looking their suits were - that is just downright ridiculous.

So while the food was decent enough to merit a return visit, I guess I'll wait till they figure out where I can hang my jacket before going back.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map