November 7, 2017

Monster white Burgundies with tarts

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It's no secret that a few of the chefs in town do their best to pamper me, and I feel very loved when that happens.  My friends, of course, realize that they're likely to get better food when they dine at certain restaurants with me - apparently they think there's something called the "Peter Chang menu"... Well, maybe...

Quite a few of us are fans of Chef Uwe Opocensky, and when they found out that I had been given a preview of his new restaurant Uwe, a few of them wanted to go with me.  Knowing that the restaurant was fully-booked for the next few weeks, I asked Uwe to find me the first evening available, and here we are.

Our little party had the whole place to ourselves, and of course Uwe, Luke, Ken, and the kitchen team took very good care of us.  There was never any doubt in my mind that we would leave with our bellies stuffed...

Autumn landscape - as I learned from my last visit, this "first course" consists of many, many different parts...

Fermented sourdough bread sticks - with homemade Branston pickle.  Pretty tasty.  With sweet potato leaves on the side.

Finnish reindeer moss - I have actually grown kinda fond of eating this... and this one came with grated horseradish.  The flower on top did taste a little like wasabi as Uwe described.

Bone marrow and caramelized onions candle - my friends were very, very happy with this... eagerly spreading the liquefied candle onto sourdough bread.  You should have heard the chorus of "Awwwww" when Uwe told us about the candle...

Fallen leaves - pumpkin/beetroot for the reddish ones, parsnip for the pale ones.  Made using the dehydrator but quickly went limp with Hong Kong's humidity.

Pickled Japanese breakfast radish - very tasty.

Venison tartare with cep mushrooms - always tasty.  Love the texture of the raw venison.

Smoked salmon with caviar and sour cream - nice and smoky, but the texture was a little on the mushy side.  Still very delish.

Ebisu oyster - these Ebisu oysters (恵比須かき) come from Fukuoka City (福岡市), and were topped with soya jelly, yuzu (柚子), and edible flowers.  The acidity nicely balanced out the light briny flavors.

Mushroom velouté and pickled mushrooms - good balance with the acidity.

Mushroom tart - girolles on top of scrambled duck eggs.  Very yummy, but the pie crust fell apart easily...

Caviar - Uwe, generous as always, brought out tins of Kaviari Kristal caviar and scooped it on top of each slice of the "cheese cake" made with Marscapone.

A few drops of chive oil were drizzled on top to finish.  Very, very decadent... especially when he decided to leave the unfinished tins on the table for us.

Langoustine - Uwe loves these langoustines from the Faroe Islands, and so do I.  Finished with a few drops of soy sauce which was seasoned with langoustine shells at 42°C for 6 weeks.

Artichoke - next up was a tart made with artichokes and caramelized Roscoff onions.  Then Uwe starting making it snow Comté on top...

And finally finished with chicken jus.  A lovely combination of sweetness from the onions, the salty flavors of Comté, and just enough richness from a little bit of jus.

So... next up we have a gratin of celeriac, Gruyère, and Parmesan. And Uwe proceeded to "make it rain" again... only this time with black truffles.

And to think... this is just the "condiment" for our next course!

Pigeon - the Bresse pigeon has been aged for 3 weeks.  Served on top of the "condiment".  Very, very well-executed.  But I did find the sauce to be very heavy-handed with salt...

Venison leg - this was "experimental" and Uwe warned us that it might not work out.  From Rhug Estate and aged for 6 weeks, then cooked for 16 hours wrapped in bacon strips...

This wasn't nearly as dry as I had feared, although it wasn't exactly moist.  Nice and smoky flavors from the bacon.

Consommé - stock made from the venison bone.  Very nice, and slightly herbal.

Lamb - salt marsh lamb from Rhug Estate, aged for 2 weeks, and slow-cooked for 8 hours.

Served with a punchy garlic aioli on the side.  Sooooo tender!

Braised Savoy cabbage - cooked with lamb fat.  Slurp.

Braised red cabbage - from Uwe's grandma.  Unlike Uwe's mother, I did not find this too sweet at all.

Grilled Savoy cabbage - so I could make a ssam (쌈) with a piece of lamb...

Cucumber yogurt

Roasted vegetables - also from Rhug Estate and cooked in lamb fat.

Mashed potatoes

Here's what my plate looked like with everything on it...

Figs - French figs stuffed with walnuts.

Tarte tatin - this was very, very nice...

Marinated plums - these were from two months ago, and they have been marinated in red wine, cinnamon, star anise, and brown sugar.

Ice cream - hand-cranked as always... and some of my friends tried to bulk up their biceps by trying their hand at cranking.   Soooooo, soooo silky smooth...  This was the smoothness of Japanese soft-serve, except that this was much richer.

"Apple pie à la mode"?

But besides all the wonderful food that we got to have, the real focus tonight was gonna be on the wines.  One of my friends offered to bring a very rare - and ridiculously expensive - bottle of white Burgundy.  I figured the only appropriate match I could offer up would be a Monty, and the Candidate also decided to bring along a Monty.

2001 Vincent Girardin Le Montrachet - popped and poured.  A little toasty, kinda muted at first, definitely good acidity here.  Minerality came out with the oyster.

2009 Lucien Le Moine Montrachet Cuvée "C" - one hour in bottle, 2 hours stoppered, 45 minutes in the decanter, 20 minutes back in the bottle, then 1 hour in decanter on ice prior to serving.  Minerals came out, sweet and caramelized nose, and more toasty later... but rather short on palate.  5½ hours after first opening the wine started to improve.  Six hours after opening the wine opened up nicely.  This wine definitely needs lots of air.

2009 Bernard Van Berg Les Echalas, bottle 21/121 - 1 hour and 15 minutes in decanter prior to serving.  Surprisingly very clean on the nose, a little oaky, powerful on the palate and very alcoholic.  Softened in glass and became a little sweeter.  What a privilege to have tasted this wine.

2000 Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses - fruity, minty, dried herbs, very fragrant.  Drinking pretty well.  After sitting in glass for a while, the nose became similar to Chinese ginger tea with brown sugar.

1997 René Engel Clos Vougeot - initially lots of black olives and stewed prunes, with leather notes.  There is sweet fruit underneath which showed up after a bit more swirling.

1990 Angelus - an hour in the decanter prior to serving.  So beautiful!  Smoky, minty, pencil lead.  So smooth on the palate.

What a fantastic evening! A great lineup in terms of wines, and as always Uwe's food made my friends and I very, very happy. We shall do this again soon...

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