April 22, 2015

No fork day, part 1: 2-star lunch

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A couple of weeks ago I received an email from my friendly neighborhood prime broker, inviting me to a lunch session with a couple of their senior managers from head office.  I gotta admit that the discussion topic wasn't exactly the most exciting, but what caught my eye was the word "Amber" in the subject line.  Well, as I said in my reply, it's "very difficult to turn down Amber"... innit?!

After we all sat down and introduced ourselves, our guest speakers kicked off the discussion while our server began bringing the food in.  First, of course, were the bread baskets to go with the butter that had already been laid out on the table.

Curiously, there was no cutlery on the table at all.  It's true that a meal at Amber always starts with a number of nibbles - all of which are eaten with one's hands.  But there were no bread knives on top of our bread plates... so I ended up spreading the butter by pressing my bread against the plate itself.  A little surprising for such an establishment, but it's a minor slip-up.

Of course, when one is friends with I Love Lubutin, one cannot help but snap a pic of the scene, put it on social media, and declare oneself "no fork use (冇叉用)"...

The nibbles start coming in, but nobody moved a muscle.  Not for a while, anyway...  Eventually hunger gets the better of me, and I started grabbing them and shoveling them - discretely - into my waiting mouth.

Mushroom Puer tea, with cream and chives - pretty nice mushroom flavors.

(Fennel?) macaron - a little sweet with nice acidity.
Virgin Bloody Mary - very nice, with a spicy crust.

Tomato pita bread - nice and crispy on the outside, with a fennel purée inside.

Barbajuan - with lemon, tomato, fennel, and basil.

The amuse bouche came, and at the bottom of the bowl were a couple of chunks of asparagus, along with sautéed morel and button mushroom bits.  These were topped with a layer of arugula foam that were distinctively acidic, and I could have sworn the kitchen added mustard in the foam.  I was told, though, that mustard was added to the deep-fried chip.

White asparagus, cooked and raw over a saffron and Meursault 'anglaise', dekopon, hyuganatsu citrus, watercress and lamb lettuce - very light and refreshing, with very clean and pure flavors from the white asparagus.  The saffron flavors were very prominent in the anglaise, and the acidity was also very evident.  There were dots of watercress coulis on top of the anglaise. The bits of hyuganatsu (日向夏) were more acidic and lighter in terms of flavor, while depokon (デコポン) was expectedly sweeter, more intense and full-on.

Pyrenees lamb, braised then smoked shoulder with lemon thyme, espelette mousseline and grilled charlotte potato with bannou negi - we were given a choice of either sea bass or the lamb, so OF COURSE I picked the lamb shoulder...  And I was SOOOOO GLAD I DID!!!

I immediately picked up the wonderful, smoky scent once the plate was laid down in front of me.  My Nontron knife cut into this tender hunk of meat easily, and I was instantly in love.  The meat was sooooo tender... and just incredibly tasty.  I took my time savoring the taste, and was just about the last person to finish the main course...

This was served with a side pot of mashed potato with lamb jus.

'Williams' pear and jumbo dried raisins poached in macvin du Jura with buttermilk and organic lemon peel sorbet - delicious.  I always love pear desserts, and this one came with a nice buttermilk sorbet with fragrant and lemon peel.  The dried white raisins were definitely pretty big, and this whole thing was fairly light.  Yum.

Of course, we finished with the petits fours.  As usual, I just took the fruit pâté and the calissons.

A very delicious but heavy lunch.  Many thanks, of course, to my friendly neighborhood prime broker for this treat.  Burp.

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