September 30, 2014

Goodbye, September

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It's the last day of September, and I sorely needed something to take my mind off of the mense horrendum I just went through...  While the rest of Hong Kong either participated or talked about Occupy Central/Hong Kong, I chose to dodge the action and holed up at my favorite On Lot 10 instead.  I wanted to divert my attention away from the topic, if only for a couple of hours.

As usual I had requested specific items ahead of time, and we discussed the rest of the menu with David upon arrival.  Once again I was playing my usual duty of ambassador-at-large for the restaurant, introducing a few friends who had yet to discover the place...  I can't remember whether it was David or one of the staff who joked that 60% of their customers show up requesting dishes they have read about on this here blog.  While this is undoubtedly a flattering exaggeration, I do know of real instances where friends of mine have shown up at the restaurant and told the staff that they know me... in the hope of getting "special treatment".  I've thought about this before and I'll bring it up again... when is David gonna start paying me some commission?!  Methinks it's about time we come to some sort of arrangement... SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!

All joking aside, food has always been fantastic here, and tonight was no exception.

Ovoli salad - radish, greens, Parmigniano-Reggiano, chervil, and very thin slices of Italian ovoli mushrooms.  While these mushrooms are very much sought-after as a delicacy, I don't think my palate is delicate enough to appreciate their very subtle flavors...  Nevertheless the salad was very delicious and enjoyable... and in stark contrast to the heavy assault of flavors later.

Sea urchin omelette - everything was soft and yellow/orange... although I must admit I found the flavors of the sea urchin to be a little too strong for my taste.

Summer truffle capellini, tomato, basil, garlic confit - I've always loved David's capellini, and tonight everything came together and just "wow"ed us... Even disregarding the mountain of summer truffle shavings, the combination of tomato, basil and garlic confit would have been enough for me to lick the plate clean.

Frog legs meunière, soft poached egg, girolle, baby spinach - always a fan of this, especially with that soft egg and the piment d'espelette powder.  Oh that garlic, again...

Steamed yellow croaker 'en papillote' - what a treat!  It's not easy to have the opportunity to have wild yellow croaker (黃花魚) nowadays, and we had three of them tonight.  The flesh was very, very tender... and this has always been one of my favorite fish since childhood.  What made things even better tonight?  Slices of matsutake (松茸) mushrooms.  Jealous die you leh...

Chuleta de Rubia Galega - I promised Big Mac that I'd introduce him to my favorite beef in Hong Kong, so this was definitely the main event tonight.  I honestly can't get enough of this 12-year old beef that has been aged to close to half a year... and the flavors just blow me away every time.  I tried to be very disciplined and only had 1½ slices, but this was soooo tender and yummy.  Even Ninja was blown away by this, and she's not a beef person, either.  Needless to say the taters and lettuce were popular, too.

Challandais "blood" duck bateau, sangria sauce - David tells us this was the same duck that is used at La Tour d'Argent.  Very, very nice and tender... with chestnuts, griottines, pearl onions, peas, carrots, potatoes, grapefruit and lardon.  I wish I had more stomach space.

Sautéed spinach - glistening under the light...

Comté - a little saltier than I expected, but very nice.

Tarte Bourdaloue and tarte citron - both are staples here and pretty nice.

This was a wine crowd, and we were certainly not short on bottles...

2004 Bruno Paillard Assemblage Brut, degorgée en Mars 2012 - yeasty nose, with ripeness on the palate but surprisingly high acidity.

1983 von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling Auslese - very big nose of plastic and polyurethane, with white flowers and acetone.  A little sweet but still nicely balanced.

2011 Ram's Hill Sauvignon Blanc - mineral, flinty, green apple, muscat grapes.  Very ripe, and absolutely beautiful.  One of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs in the world.

1996 Grand-Puy-Lacoste - smoky and cedar notes.  Very fragrant and delish.

2008 Cos d'Estournel - very ripe and exotic nose, with vanilla and coconut butter.  Very sweet, too.

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