April 16, 2019

10 days in 3 cities day 4: flavors of spring

Pin It

The primary reason for The Dining Austrian's trip this time around was, not surprisingly, to visit two restaurants which had been promoted to three-star status.  That meant Caprice was on the itinerary... so naturally I arranged with Hairy Legs so that he can showcase his cuisine.

We started with a few nibbles:

Green pea tart with shallots and mint

Smoky balik salmon with Kristal caviar - with cauliflower mousse and dill on top, sandwiched between two thin layers of crispy pastry.  Definitely nice and smoky, with good accents coming from the Kaviari Kristal.

Pita with curry chicken mousse - classic.

White asparagus from Frédéric Poupard: tartare with mussels espuma and diced lemon; poached with razor clams - the white asparagus came from the Loire Valley, and was kinda interesting when paired with the flavors from mussels.  The confit lemon zest brought a little acidity to the mix. and the salicornia also brought a bit of saltiness.

Scottish scampi, mango, and sea urchin - a dish I first had 2 months ago.  Served with mango from the Philippines topped with Hokkaido sea urchin.

The scampi was cooked mi-cuit, and very, very delicious.  The sauce was made with sea urchin, shallots, and mushrooms.

Green pea soup, Brin d’Amour cheese ravioli, almond espuma - this was certainly seasonal.  The ravioli came with Brin d'Amour as filling and it certainly showed, as the strong herbal flavors were pretty distinctive.  The almond espuma was not bad, but of course the peas were just so, so nice.

Nodoguro fish from Toyosu Market - last time it was broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次), and tonight it was rosy seabass (赤睦) / blackthroat seaperch (喉黒).  One tender fish to another, this one slightly less fatty.  Still came with a quenelle of caviar sitting on top of some potato, alongside some fennel, a wedge of orange, and a beautiful saffron sauce that was so nutty and rich.  The little rolls of cuttlefish were nice, too.

Racan pigeon from Maison Bellorr cooked in cocoa pod, salsify and puffed potatoes, cocoa jus - you would think that it's the same ol' stuff from Hairy Legs, but he manages to surprise tonight.  There was a strawberry jam on the side made with Gariguettes, which went incredibly well with the duck foie gras on top.

Of course, the pigeon breast was done just the way I like it...

I was full but no less greedy than normal, so I picked out a few different types of cheese and just asked for smaller slices.

Galet de Chartreuse - definitely gamey.  Thick and creamy with a bit of acidity as expected.

Abbaye de Cîteaux - salty, a little bitter, with some ammonia around the rind.

Coulommiers - more salty than the Abbaye de Cîteaux, but less ripe than I had hoped.

Munster - even more salty and with stronger flavors, with a bitter aftertaste.

Saint-Marcellin - pretty damn ripe, strong and salty, and surprisingly showed hospital disinfectant...

Fourme d'Ambert - I took it so I could have the pear jam.

Pre-dessert was a quenelle of Granny Smith sorbet sitting on top of a bed of sago and pickled celery in coconut cream.  Very nice and refreshing.

Exotic calisson, passion fruit and coriander sorbet - the calissons came with white chocolate and coconut, and each was stopped with a quenelle of passion fruit and coriander sorbetExotique indeed!


Petits Fours

Tarte au pommes - I couldn't eat any more, so I asked for a very small piece.  Very grateful for Hairy Legs for giving me extra portions to take home to Hello Kitty.

I brought out an interesting pair of wines for tonight, and Hairy Legs was also generous enough to share a special bottle with us.

Armand de Brignac Brut Gold - yeasty, quite nice on the palate.  Interestingly there was acidity on the nose, and later on also became slightly more acidic on the palate.

1990 Antinori Solaia - decanted for an hour prior to serving. Smoky, lovely fruit, a bit of maturity here, plummy, cool fruit, with a hint of grass.  Acidity started to come out later, but still a powerful wine.  Especially beautiful and open when first served.

1985 Antinori Solaia - decanted for an hour prior to serving. Initially a little more dried out and grippy on the palate, but opened up nicely.  So fragrant with nice smoked meat notes.  Became softer on the palate after an hour in glass.  Absolutely beautiful 2½ hours after the first pour.  A stunning wine!

1952 Clos de Nouys Moelleux - really honeyed nose.  Rich with acetone.  Still kinda dry and very nutty on the palate.  Marmalade and pear notes.

Honestly, I was scratching my head a little tonight.  I brought The Dining Austrian here with the specific purpose of ensuring that he had the best experience possible, and I told Hairy Legs to "show us what he's got."  But while I enjoyed all the dishes, I was really surprised that only one of them turned out to be a Hairy Legs' signature dish.  There was no abalone carbonara, no crab laksa, no deconstructed onion soup... and not even the beef tartare with oysters and caviar.

Then I realized what I did wrong.  I told Hairy Legs to treat this meal "as if the Michelin inspectors were coming."  So my friend got the wrong message.  He assumed that I wouldn't want to have the same dishes that the Michelin inspectors have already had before, and he thought I would want to see something new.  Or maybe he decided to play it safe and excluded his creations with Asian touches.  Whatever the reason, it pleased but didn't impress my visitor.

Which was why I kinda strong-armed him into having lunch the next day... and this time around Hairy Legs offered up some of his signatures - and finally managed to impress my well-travelled friend with some magic.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map