January 9, 2021

Supporting chef friends: my happy place

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Another Saturday, another lunch at a fine dining restaurant.  It's been a while since I last showed some love and supported one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong, and when Hello Kitty saw a post about something she was dying to have, we decided it was time to get a table at Ta Vie 旅

With sit-down dinner still banned in town, lunch is the only option.  That means a short menu at half the price of the regular dinner menu.  Not ideal, as I'd like to get as much out of any meal here as possible, but I guess this will have to do for now...

A meal here always starts with the signature nukazuke (糠漬け) bread.  It is easily one of my favorite breads in town.

And it's always accompanied by butter and ricotta - both also made in-house just like the bread.

Kegani crab and avocado cocktail with black vinegar sauce, covered with chrysanthemum jelly - such a beautiful, classic dish from Sato-san.  The layer of jelly on top was encased with chrysanthemum leaves.  This artistic presentation suited the glass dish perfectly.

For a guy who's normally not a huge fan of avocado, I really love this dish.  Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) meat came with black vinegar and cubes of ginger, which is a very Chinese combination.  The additional of cucumber cubes made it even more refreshing.  

House made pasta with "aonori" seaweed sauce topped with Hokkaido "bafun" uni - this has always been one of my favorite dishes here, and it really has been a while since I last had the opportunity to taste this.  Such perfect balance between the savory, umami flavors of the seaweed and the creamy sweetness of the sea urchin.  So, sooooo happy!

French black pork "Noir de Bigorre" and Chinese cabbage 娃娃菜 "sauerkraut" served with black truffles from Provence, France - Noir de Bigorre is always a good idea, and the jus was actually made with pig trotters.  There was a little horseradish on the pork, and that thin strip of fat on the side was so, so tasty.

Hello Kitty had the blue lobster, and the cutest baby lobster roll came as a side dish... with the lobster claw as well as a slice of chorizo. Very nice.

Roselle tea - always beautiful with the fragrance of osmanthus and orange zest.

Fresh chesnuts Mont-Blanc with Pu'er tea ice cream - another signature dish, which had been poetically named "les feuilles mortes".

"Tarte tatin" crispy tart with caramelized 紅玉 apple, vanilla ice cream - BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR!  Tarte tatin is just about the only dessert Hello Kitty will touch, and Sato-san has made this with thin slices of Japanese Kogyoku (紅玉) apple.  That pasty, though... I could taste all the butter that went into it.

Chocolate mousse - I specifically asked for coffee to finish, so that I could enjoy my favorite chocolate mousse in the world.  I don't think I can ever get tired of this beautiful dessert, where the fragrance of kaffir lime leaves linger in my mouth long after I've left the restaurant.

I didn't want a repeat of what happened last Saturday, so I decided to just order a glass of wine from the restaurant and not BYO.

2018 Hiedler Grüner Veltliner 1ÖTW Reserve Schenkenbichl - flinty, petrol, nice fragrance with white flowers.  Kinda soft and flat on the palate, dry but with some ripeness.

Always happy to see my favorite F and B couple, persevering through the tough times with the ever-present smiles on their faces.  As it turns out, we did a little gift exchange today, and I definitely came out ahead on this one.  Looking forward to my dinner, then...

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