June 9, 2014

Playdate with Uwe, episode 2

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It's been more than a year since our incredibly fun dinner with Uwe, and an email came around asking if another gathering was in order.  We were reminiscing about some of the Art Basel-related creations, and debated about visiting around that time to see what fun stuff Uwe would come up with this year, but unfortunately the lot of us just couldn't get our act together in time...

So we came back to the Mandarin Grill + Bar tonight, ready for another fun evening.  When Uwe asked me what I wanted for tonight, I asked him simply to surprise us.  I never doubted him for a second.

First came a bunch of nibbles, beginning with anegg sabayon made with mushrooms - and there were definitely some tasty chunks at the bottom of the shell.  We debated about whether the shells were from real eggs or not, but I don't think they were...  Anyway, these were really delicious.

Cheese gougères were next, with nice, creamy centers.

Spherical olive - somehow the membrane felt a little thicker tonight, which required more pressure to break it open.  The end result was that the liquid inside went straight to the back of my throat, and I tried very hard not to choke on it.

Oyster and potato leek soup - I couldn't catch the name of the oyster, although it was a "fine de xx" but clearly not Fine de Claire.  The potato and leek mousse filled the small shell, and they used a few pearls of caviar as garnish.

Summer -  I had something similar last year, but I'm wondering if Uwe's doing one of these per season... maybe more.  The foliage was made with freeze-dried tomato and decorated with mozzarella balls, olive oil caviar and more; the trunk was Parmesan powder; and the "sous bois" salad came with jamón ibérico.  Final touches came in the form of a few drops of 25-year balsamic vinegar.

BFG - Heston Blumenthal's black forest gateau.  Made with sour cherries, chocolate, foie gras and balsamic vinegar.

I cut slices of this and spread it on the toast.  Soooo yummy.

Lobster - this is where the connection with the Krug Room leads to decadence.  The Australian marron lobsters were taken out of their shells, put in a bowl and "rinsed/soaked" in Krug Grande Cuvée.

A short while later, the end result was placed in front of us.  In addition to the lobster, there was some yuzu-scented gelée, flavored with a little soy sauce, along with lobster tomalley.  The texture of the lobster was absolutely perfect, the yuzu (柚子) lent a wonderful fragrance, and the tomalley added a complexity and depth to the flavors.

Spring - a deep-fried spring roll, stuffed with very tasty Japanese hairy crab (毛蟹) full of umami.

Tea - O-M-G.  This was just awesome.  Uwe brings us a set used for the Japanese tea ceremony, and this is a course that requires audience participation.  The ceramic bowl came with a green powder that looks like ground green tea, but was in fact basil.  Then tomato consommé was poured on top.

Then one picks up the bamboo whisk, and make sure to whip up enough froth.  I must admit that I got special treatment here... While the others were complaining about how tough it was to get it frothy, Uwe came and did mine while I waited with the camera...  Finally, a few flower petals on top.

This was, quite simply the best "green tea" I've ever had.  The fragrance from the basil was simply incredible.  The purity of the flavors with just basil and tomato... Wow!  I'd drink this tea any day!

Langoustine - cooked perfectly, with streaks of watercress and paprika, and flash frozen bisque on top.  Very yum.

Turbot - the grilled turbot was probably the weakest dish of the evening.  Not that it was terrible, but it just wasn't as exciting as the others.  The girolles were good.

Miyazaki - Miyazaki beef (宮崎牛), to be exact.  The beef was cooked at 60°C for 85 minutes, then coated with onions and breadcrumbs and deep-fried for 30 seconds.  Served smoked with onion bark on the side.  Gotta say that this looked a lot like what I had at Les Créations de Narisawa.

The beef was pure perfection.  Soooo texture, juicy and succulent.  That onion-flavored crust.  The onion "bark"... which tasted a little like the Sour Cream and Onion SunChips.  Garnished with spring onion shoots on the side.

There was also a watercress and nori seaweed salad on the side that was surprisingly yummy.

We finally came to dessert, which is always an event on its own.

Garden / strawberry - so this came in two parts.  First we have the enclosed garden, with "carrot" cheesecake, olive "turnip", tiramisu "potato"...etc... all sitting on Oreo "soil".

We also had some edible shovels made from chocolate.

The other part of dessert featured a real garden shovel, which carried both real and pretend strawberries, on top of more Oreo soil.  Very, very yummy.

The wines tonight weren't any less interesting compared to the food.

1978 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes - beautiful amber color, definitely showing age, with toasty and bready, yeasty notes, nutty, coffee and a little sweet Chinese licorice (甘草).

1997 Sauzet Chevalier-Montrachet - sweeter, pretty ripe, still a little alcoholic.  More minerality here.

1999 Gantenbein Pinot Noir - kinda big, ripe, with a little leather.  Still young and relatively closed.

1993 Domaine Leroy Nuits-Saint-Georges - beautiful and floral, with leather, black cherries and passion fruit.

1985 Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze - beautiful, floral and fragrant.  A hint of savory notes with wonderfully sweet fruit.  Very clean, nice and ripe.  An elegant wine.

1990 Jaboulet La Chapelle - minty, ripe fruit and smoky notes.  Relatively closed.

2010 Kapcsándy Estate Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon - lots of coconut butter, minty, pine needle, ripe and sweet.

Needless to say, this was another really fun evening.  Uwe continues to treat us to new ideas collected from around the world, and we get to have lots of fun while we eat.  We were chastised by Uwe for having waited so long to come back, but believe me, it won't take another year for our next visit together!


Anonymous said...

How much did all that lot come to ?

Peech said...

I forgot to check the bill for corkage, but after service charge plus a reasonable tip on top, we paid HKD 2,500 a head.


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