January 23, 2021

3-star lunner

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It's been a few months since Hello Kitty dined at Caprice.  In fact, she hasn't been back since we got married there 3 months ago.  We figured we would pay Hairy Legs a visit at the start of the new year, especially since he had very kindly given us one of the amazing Blue Mountain coffee tarts which Hello Kitty never had the chance to taste.

We started with some panini with Comté, ham, and topped with black truffles.  Just can't go wrong with this combination.

I was really hungry as I didn't get around to grabbing breakfast, so I wolfed down this sesame roll... followed by 2/3 of a mini baguette.  This is, of course, a real mistake here - given the amount of food we would be getting from the kitchen.

Crabe royal d'Alaska et truffe noire - hmmm... there was a nice amount of gold foil the last time I had Alaskan king crab here... just sayin'...

At the bottom of the bowl you've got a layer of crustacean gelée, then the "crab salad" made with Japanese (Kewpie?) mayo, oyster, plankton, diced black truffles above.  This was topped with a layer of sliced black truffle, with mint oil and tarragon.  Always a nice dish and a refreshing way to start.

Langoustine rôtie, haricot blanc, sauce citronelle et calamansi - Hairy Legs introduced a fantastic langoustine dish to me 2 months ago, and today he chose a different variation.  The langoustine itself was, as usual, executed the way it should at a 3-star restaurant.  But instead of a clear, delicate consommé we've got a creamy sauce with white beans.  This was heartier than I had expected, but nicely balanced by the acidity from calamansi gel, along with the fragrances from lemongrass, laksa leaves, and coriander.

This was another example of why I love Hairy Leg's dishes.  The first whiff showed the distinctive scent of laksa leaves, and one would expect that to come front and center on the palate.  But in reality the laksa flavors were very subtle, and added just enough to make the sauce intriguing without hitting the tongue like a battering ram.

Coquilles Saint Jacques de plongée, topinambour, émulsion de truffe -  the hand-dived scallops from Brittany came in an artichoke of Jerusalem artichoke, topped with a pile of black truffle chiffonade.  

The scallop was sliced like hasselback potatoes, and stuffed with slices of Jerusalem artichoke and more black truffle in between the layers.  We've also got a sprinkling of toasted buckwheat for more of that Breton flavor.  Underneath it all we've got a mash made with more Jerusalem artichoke, and crushed hazelnuts for even more crunch.

Bar de ligne et pomme de terre Amandine cuites au beurre d'algue - this... this is a dish I've had before.  In fact it showed up on my wedding menu.  The line-caught sea bass from Brittany was about as expected, and one could hardly complain about produce like this.  The wafer-thin slices of white button mushrooms (or champignons de Paris, if you prefer) were a nice touch, and the Amandine potatoes cooked in seaweed butter - topped with a spring of salicornia and a sprinkle of buckwheat - were sinful.  

The 'bolognese' on the side made with diced cuttlefish still gets me, even though there was no longer any surprise for me.  The saffron sauce that brought the magic was still finger-licking good, except I no longer had any more stomach space for bread to soak it all up.

Pigeon de Racan de la Maison Bellorr cuit dans une cabosse de cacao, salsifi et pomme soufflée, jus au cacao - how nice to this again after not seeing it for a couple of years!  The pigeon is a signature dish for Hairy Legs, and this one today was as good as any I've had from him.  The jus with cocoa - complete with cocoa nibs - was rich and delicious.  

Given how full we were, the chunk of pan-fried foie gras seemed superfluous... but I didn't have the heart to let such a beautifully-executed lump of heart attack go to waste.  Thankfully the Port-infused pear compote underneath delivered some acidity to help.

We were sooo full that we chose to skip the cheese.  And you only do this when absolutely necessary.

Soufflé à la noisette, glace vanille - this was a beautiful soufflé, with rich hazelnut flavors thanks to the chunks inside.  Unfortunately, this was much, much richer than an ordinary soufflé thanks to the addition of white chocolate replacing lots of hot air... which may explain how this thing managed to retain its shape without collapsing.  And I didn't even touch the vanilla ice cream...

We decided to pack the mignardises instead of wasting them. A couple of bottles to go with our food...

2004 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé - lovely nose, showing marmalade, a little toast, a hint of honey and some strawberries.  Good balance on the palate.

1990 La Dame de Montrose - served an hour after opening, undecanted.  Minty, smoky, earthy, cedar, and still a little bit of fruit left.

And a glass of the sweet stuff to finish.

1965 Toro Albalá Don PX Convento Selección, from methuselah - raisiny, potpourri, almost a little savory, a hint of medicinal notes, exotic spices, eucalyptus, aged mandarin peel, almost like panettone, and aged Chekiang vinegar with diced ginger used for dipping crab.

P.S. This was way, waaaaaay too much food for lunch. We finished past 4 p.m. and I had zero appetite for dinner. I finally got around to eating a bowl of instant noodles some time around 10:30 p.m.

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