June 22, 2021

Dining with the rich and famous, episode 2

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It has been quite some time since I last paid my friend Uwe a visit, and certainly not since the arrival of the Chef Romain Dupeyre at Petrus.  I figured it was high time we returned and checked out what the new chef is churning out.

Knowing this would be a week with a number of heavy meals, I asked my friend if he would consider not killing me with food tonight.  I was surprised when he protested, wondering why every other chef is allowed to serve me long tasting menus while I would ask him not to.  I was at a loss for words. So I let him do his worst...

Pea, shallot, and mint tartlet - the flavors of the peas really popped at first, then you get the fermented flavors of the cheese in the tart base. Very nice.

Ōra King salmon stones - marinated with kombu (昆布), with ponzu (ポン酢) dressing. I was pretty surprised to see these again after 7 years, although this time around the Ōra King salmon from New Zealand was much, much more tasty than the tuna from last time. The flavors tonight were just so rich and just gave the taste buds a jolt to wake them up. I'm pretty sure my eyes opened up a little wider as I slowly chewed on it and savored the moment.

Foie gras bon bons - the gelée on the outside delivered a dose of vinegar acidity which surprised me a little, and the cheesy biscuit at the bottom was really nice.

Fine de Claire oyster / cucumber / caviar / Champagne - the oyster was lightly seared and came on top of some crème fraîche, along with some cucumber juice with nice acidity to balance out the cream and brine from the oyster. On top of it all we have a sprinkle of granité which has been made with Krug Champagne... That's totally decadent, and reminds of me of time when Uwe "rinsed" some lobsters in Krug Grande Cuvée.

Before the start of the meal, as Uwe was bitching about me not wanting him to kill me with food, he mentioned something about me ordering up a salad. Well... guess what we have here?!

King crab / yoghurt / green peas / mint - so we're being served a salad of crab meat, quinoa, yoghurt, mint, peas, pea mash, feta, and herbs. In the middle we have the leg of the Norwegian King crab, with a glaze of yuzu and burnt Sicilian lemon - which almost made it taste like smoked sausage... although the acidity from the lemon was clearly noticeable.

The King crab comes from the same supplier that Uwe has been using over the last few years, and still comes with a tag which tells the story of the crab. I asked Uwe whether he's still naming the crabs since, at one of the meals where he served us the crab, we named it Ingrid on account that the crab was caught by a woman named Inge.

Norway langoustine / kumquat / crustacean foam - the langoustine was lightly grilled, and served with chargrilled baby leeks, some onion confit, kumquat hollandaise, langoustine espuma, and a sprinkle of toasted buckwheat and some kumquat slices. I wondered whther there were some squid ink in the bowl, too. Very citrusy and interesting.

Langoustine rice cracker was used to scoop up the espuma.

Abalone / cauliflower / smoke / vadouvan - I was pleasantly surprised to see abalone on the menu, and this came with both fresh and pickled cauliflower as well as cauliflower purée. The vadouvan was a pretty interesting twist as it's not something we normally associate with abalone.

The abalone was deliciously springy, and the sprinkles added an interesting crunch that was pretty nice.

Turbot / morels / green asparagus / Vin Jaune - to be honest, the line-caught turbot from Brittany was a little disappointing, as it as a tad more cooked than I would have preferred. While the middle was more succulent and tender, the edges were too crispy and the texture was almost approaching grainy. The morels and Vin Jaune sauce worked well, flavor-wise.

The asparagus roll on the side came stuffed with morels, scallops, and green peas. While the turbot worked fine with our red wine, this part did not... as the scallops clashed with the wine. We were getting full by this point, and thankfully the meat main course was up next...

Lamb / artchokes / gnocchi / black garlic - I normally love lamb from the Pyrenees, and I've probably never met a lamb I found too lamby, I may have finally met my match tonight due to my condition. There was already rosemary stuffed into the middle of the roulade, and the gel of preserved lemon worked very well to help neutralize the gamey flavors from the lamb, but with the lambskin on the outside, it felt a little overpowering... even for me. I probably could have taken the dish down had there been one less dish, and surely would have relished every little morsel. Alas, it was not to be.

Cheesecake / Hokkaido / cream cheese - this looked really, really good, but completely ridiculous considering how much food we've had. I ended up taking the whole thing home.

Strawberry / organic / vanilla / white chocolate - the strawberry tartare inside the ring of white chocolate cream was unsweetened and actually got reasonable acidity, which appealed to Sankala. The addition of mint oil was a nice touch.

Vanilla ice cream with basil oil, mint oil, and juice from barbecued strawberries - with white chocolate on top.


Madeleine - while the inside was moist, I thought the exterior was a weeeeeettle bit too dry.

Canelé - GOBBLE, GOBBLE. Why didn't I take the second one?!

Coffee chocolate - nice.

Cassis paté de fruit - LOVE.

I followed tradition in my choice of wine, but decided to bring a little something extra because, well, we're seeing Uwe.

Krug Grande Cuvée, en demi-bouteille - the label was in use before 2004, and indeed I have been cellaring this baby for maybe 15 years or more. Sooooo beautiful! Tons of plum, a little Chinese licorice, Chinese salted plums with savory notes. Really loving the acidity and aftertaste. So nice and complex after all these years.

1970 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle - opened 1 hour prior to serving from the bottle. Earthy, leather, and smoky, with a little bit of savory notes on the palate. Twenty minutes later this was more fragrant with cedar notes. Another 10 minutes later and we had nice tobacco notes. Some 2 hours after opening this became more voluptuous, even floral with some roses and violet. Very happy with this bottle.

I survived another meal with Uwe, and I'm happy to see the new elements from Chef Romain. We were joined by some of the city's rich and famous - not at the same table, of course - who were obviously also fans of Uwe's. Looking forward to revisiting sooner rather than later, and hope that Chef Romain doesn't try to achieve what Uwe hasn't successfully done...

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