December 6, 2020

Vanilla high

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It's Ro Ro's birthday and we wanted the chance to celebrate the big day with her.  It's been about a month since we last saw her, and we figured the thing to do would be to check out a place we haven't been before.  TIRPSE was a recommendation from my friend V some years ago, but I never made it to the original in Tokyo before their decision to close.  Somehow they ended up opening in Hong Kong at K11 Musea, and I have been kinda wanting to see what the fuss was about.

The minute I stepped into K11 Musea, though, I started kicking myself for my stupidity.  How could I possibly forget that THIS ENTIRE MALL REEKS OF ARTIFICIAL VANILLA SHIT??!!  The entire dinner experience would be ruined, and never mind the nice bottles of wines we brought along.

We were seated at two different tables tonight, thanks to the new social distancing rules imposed by the government.  We had lovely views of the harbor, and in fact there was a balcony in front of us with comfy seating.  How I wish we could swap out tables and be seated outdoors, so that we wouldn't have to smell that vanilla crap the entire time!

Amuse bouche (アミューズブッシュ) - this was a piece of foie gras torchon with some mint and sea salt jam, sea salt, and red perilla leaves.  

Chestnut, celery, Szechuan pepper (栗  セロリ  青山椒) - pretty interesting chestnut and onion soup with small chunks of chestnuts, topped with celery foam.  That kick from the Sichuan peppercorns raised an eyebrow or two.

Amaebi, tomato, smoke paprika (甘海老  トマト  スモークパプリカ) - we've got raw Japanese sweet shrimp and scallop tartare, along with smoked salmon roe, smoked paprika oil, cherry tomatoes, and tomato jelly.  Garnished with Japanese cucumber and cucumber flowers.  This was pretty nice... refreshing and tasty.

Oyster, Okinawa spinach, shiso (牡蠣  金時草  ほうれん草  しそ) - underneath the cover of Japanese spinach, spinach powder, and perilla flowers we have an oyster which has been poached at 52°C.  We also have sautéed Okinawan spinach (ハンダマ) along with spinach purée.  Well... I definitely tasted spinach!  Plenty of iron here...

Red Sea bream, mussel, parsley (真鯛  ムール貝  パセリ) - I found it odd that after being "slow-cooked", the fish was then pan-fried with porcini powder.  We also had a mussel in the middle of a bunch of mushrooms like shimeji (しめじ茸) and snow fungus.  Bouillon of sake, shallots, mussels, and kombu, and we've got parsley foam and coriander as garnish.  This was OK.

Pigeon, Alpine garlic, maitake (鳩  高山にんにく  舞茸) - we have pigeon jus, and then Alpine garlic and cardamom (?) purée, leeks, burnt leek powder which reminded me of Narisawa, ginkgo nuts, and maitake (舞茸) with some grated truffle.

The Racan pigeon was decent, but somehow I wanted more.  The flavors just weren't big enough, and a great pigeon dish should have a lot more ooomph.  This wasn't one of those dishes.  

Walnut, red miso, caramel (胡桃  赤味噌  キャラメル) - this was very, very good.  Full-fledged walnut flavors in the ice cream as well as the walnut compote.  The caramel tuile on top was nice, too.

Mandarin orange, white bean paste, laurel (みかん  白餡  ローリエ) - inside the tube we've got a chunk of dry and crappy madeleine at the bottom, some white bean paste, cream cheese and bay leaf espuma, and finally some Japanese mikan (みかん).  I applaud the chef for using bay leaves in a dessert, even though I didn't quite get it myself.  There's also a quenelle of Greek yogurt sorbet on the side.

Sweet potato, black cardamom, quince (さつま芋  ブラックカルダモン  花梨) - the sweet potato was infused with black cardamom sauce, and came with lemon custard cream (???).  Chocolate and cream sauce with Whisky ice cream topped with chocolate chips.  We've also got slices of sweet potatoes and quince.

Honestly, I didn't like this.  The Whisky ice cream was much too peaty, and didn't work with the other elements.

Petit fours (小菓子) - Earl Grey tart with raspberries, chocolate fondant.

Because of the abominable stench of vanilla, we only opened two bottles of wine with dinner.

2003 Penfolds Yattarna - sweet and caramelized nose, but there's still acidity on the palate that was kinda ripe, with additional Chinese licorice notes.  Definitely over the hill.

2002 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques - decanted for 1 hour.  The nose was kinda strange.  A little plummy with a hint of smoke.  Kinda disappointing.

Well... I do havd to say that I was a little disappointed with dinner tonight. The savory dishes were fine, but I was hoping for a little more in terms of creative combinations and more bold flavors. Didn't seem to have worked out tonight.

We decided to go back to Ro Ro's to finish the third bottle, which had already been opened but we felt would be a waste to taste in the restaurant.

1999 Gaja Sorì San Lorenzo - opened more than 3 hours prior to serving.  Smoky, burnt rubber.  Still tannic but acidity is there.  A bit minty and eucalyptus with some woodsy notes and a little black pepper.  

2003 Quilceda Creek, from magnum - opened about 30 hours earlier and quadruple-decanted.  Nose of dried herbs and a little Chinese medicine.  Kinda jammy.

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