June 6, 2019

Home court advantage

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A couple of weeks ago Ricardo Chaneton pinged me and told me about an upcoming guest chef/four hands event he was putting together at Petrus.  Owing to my busy travel schedule this year, it's been quite a while since I last visited him at his restaurant... so I figured I should probably sign up for this.

I remember seeing Stéphanie Le Quellec as one of the chefs whose restaurant was promoted to two macarons early this year.  Therefore it came as a surprise to find out that mere weeks after, the chef and hotel Prince de Galles parted ways and La Scène closed down.

Given that we were just coming back from Kyoto, I asked Ricardo to save me a table tonight - the last evening of the event.  He very kindly offered me seats at the special dinner featuring only the visiting chef's dishes - paired with 10 vintages of Cheval Blanc.  Alas, it was too rich for my blood... so we chose to take the 4-hands menu stead.

We were offered a glass on Champagne on the house:

Vouette et Sorbée Blanc d'Argile, dégorgée le 20 Octobre 2016 - good acidity on the palate.

We started with some canapés de réception...

Macaron with smoked eel and lime, by Ricardo Chaneton - topped with a bauhinia flower.

La tartelette au foie gras, by Stéphanie Le Quellec - the crust was made with squid ink and black truffles, and there was a layer of Port wine gelée on top.

Two types of bread were served: the house sourdough as well as the challa with lemon, rosemary, and olive from the guest chef.

Le champignon de Paris, thinly sliced, green pistachios, white balsamic dressing, by Ricardo Chaneton - the Caesar's mushrooms came in thin slices, and the texture was pretty smooth and slippery.  The toasted pistachios on top were very, very nice.

Langoustine from Brittany, half-roasted, vanilla and buckwheat dressing, langoustine blancmange, by Stéphanie Le Quellec - interesting to have a blancmange topped with a tuile.

The langoustine was pretty raw.  The execution was nice, but I didn't find the flavors too interesting - unless I was meant to smear some blancmange on top of the langoustine...  The buckwheat on top was much too burnt, and turned out to be a minus and not a plus.

Veal sweetbread, bagna càuda sauce, white asparagus, by Ricardo Chaneton - the little cubes of sardines were very salty, but sooo soft and soooo delicious.  Very intense flavors.

The sweetbread was pretty nice... crispy on the outside yet still soft and bouncy.  Kinda reminiscent of what we had at L'Air du Temps last year...

John Dory, Dugléré style, fennel and zucchini, orange blossom scent, by Stéphanie Le Quellec - our server introduced it as "codfish"... but the texture was clearly not cod.  Came with fennel, kumquat, zucchini, zucchini flowers, salicornia, and perilla.  The citrusy sauce was made with fish stock and kumquat, with a lovely fragrance.

Aveyron lamb, roti, ricotta, Madeira sauce, by Ricardo Chaneton - got the classic spring onion with grill marks in the middle of the plate, along with a little bit of ricotta.  When I asked about the item on the right, I was told it was a piece of smoked eel.  Well, I'm no expert but I thought it was eggplant...

But this... THIS WAS THE SHIT!  The lamb from Aveyron was FUCKING GOOD!  It was medium-rare and very, very wobbly.  Sooo soft and tender.  Sooo juicy and succulent.  Incredibly lammy and delicious.  In fact, the last time I had lamb this good was probably back when the Colorado lamb was still on the menu at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana - which I last had about 7 years ago.  This dish alone was worth coming back to Petrus for.

Vanilla Tahitensis, omelette norvégienne, spirit, by Stéphanie Le Quellec - not being a baker, I didn't realize there were different types of meringue until today... and this was Italian meringue.  Well, basically omelette norvégienne is like a baked Alaska.  This one not bad lah... with a layer of cake at the bottom.

The coffee macarons, though, were really good.

2009 Sadie Family Palladius - pretty ripe and not overripe, with only a hint of bitterness at the end.  A little beeswax on the nose.

Glad to be back tasting Ricardo's dishes, and bummed that I don't come back enough!

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