June 24, 2021

Double birthday

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The Landlord and I decided to celebrate our birthdays together this year, and of course the venue would be none other than Caprice.  We had the Chef's Table for the night and, as it turns out, almost the whole restaurant to ourselves as the public section was closed for the duration of service.  Half the kitchen team would be downstairs catering for a large wine event.

I didn't ask for any particular dish for the evening, leaving things, as usual, up to Hairy Legs. I love how he continues to surprise me even after all these years.

Button mushroom and foie gras gelée tart - I was happily snapping a pic of this when Hairy Legs decided that he would come and ruin that pretty picture... by shaving some black stuff on top...

Of course, having slices of Tasmanian black truffle with your mushroom and foie gras tart is never a bad thing.

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar

Pita with curry chicken mousse

Chou-fleur, chocolat blanc et caviar - GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLD!!!!!! Finally! Someone got the memo and decided to serve me some gold! On top of Kaviar Kristal caviar, of course!

Around the cauliflower blanc-manger there was a white chocolate shell, decorated with fresh almonds tipped with fennel fronds. There were also tiny little cauliflower florets which had been lightly-marinated in citrus vinegar, in between dots of lemon gel.

This was really nice! I loved the crunch from the fresh almonds and the cauliflower florets. The acidity from the lemon gel, the creaminess of the cauliflower blanc-manger, the sweetness and fattiness of cocoa butter all worked very well with the caviar. A beautiful dish, to be sure.

Crabe d'Alaska en salade, truffe noir d'Australie et menthe fraîche - I tasted this dish earlier this year, and it's always nice to get some more crab from Hairy Legs as it's an ingredient he loves. At the top you have a layer of black truffle slices, along with a few mint leaves and drops of mint oil.

Underneath the truffle you have shredded crab meat, plankton, mayo, and a layer of crustacean gelée at the bottom. The kitchen team managed to mesh together the earthy flavors with the flavors from the ocean. Nicely done.

Langoustine, duxelles aux champignons, sauce rubis et huile - not sure Hairy Leg's has ever served me two langoustines on one plate before, but he was certainly generous enough to merit a new moniker - GGG. The sauce rubis - besides being made with red fruits and my favorite ingredient beetroot - was absolutely beautiful and fragrant. It was meant to pair well with our pinot noir, which it did. The duxelles under the langoustines was, of course, a great match with the wine, too.

Ventrèche de thon japonaise, pêche fraiche et sauce vanille de Tahiti - I was told about tuna being on the menu yesterday, but I didn't want to ask whether it would be bluefin. Well... given that the tuna belly came from Japan, I guess it probably was.

The tuna belly was very fatty, as one would expect. We've got peach slices on top to add some sweetness and acidity, and zucchini purée on the side. That Tahitian vanilla sauce, though...

Hairy Legs did tell me about his new preparation for pigeon, and I have seen some posts on social media. This would have made Sankala so, so happy... except for the fact that I neglected to remind the chef that any ingredients with caffeine after 12 noon is strictly no-no for her.  That is why she's never had the coffee tart with dinner.

Pigeon de Racan cuit à l'etouffé dans une croûte au café, salsifis, sauce arabica - the beautiful pigeon breast has been stuffed with foie gras, and topped with a crust made of shaved black truffle. On the side we have hazelnut mousse, which was, naturally, rich and nutty. The salsify was cooked in pigeon jus and coffee. The beautiful sauce was made with coffee, raspberry vinegar, quince vineger, and 1931 Toro Albalá Don PX Convento Selección.

Unfortunately, one of us couldn't have the dish, and I was much too full to take down a second portion.

I would have loved to have paired this with the Toro Albalá, but having it with the Mouton wasn't bad. There's always next time!

Sélection de fromages affinés - these were already chosen for us.

Palouse des Aravis - creamy with good acidity.

Brie de Meaux - more ammonia here.

Manigodine - notes of hay and straw.

Comté, 40 months - always happy with this.

Fourme d'Ambert - washed with Sauternes. This definitely tasted a little different from the usual version.

Coffee tart - OK, so I did ask for this as my "birthday cake", and I was ever so happy that I did. The flavors of the coffee - I didn't ask whether Blue Mountain was still being used - were so intense. I definitely didn't need a cup of coffee to go with this!

Mango cheesecake - this was for The Landlord. Of course, it was delicious, too.

We had a few bottles for the evening, and both birth vintages were represented.

2010 Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon - pretty toasty nose, pretty nice, and works well with the crab.

2008 George Noëllat Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts - really fragrant and floral, with leather notes. Elegant, with really nice sweet fruit.

1976 Hugel Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles - fucking wonderful! Sooo floral, really sweet with honey, acetone notes. Very rich on the nose, and even smells thick and viscous. But the finish was a little short. Paired well with the tuna.

1970 Mouton-Rothschild - served about two hours after opening, without decanting. Just beautiful, really fragrant, smoky, minty, lovely woodsy notes, along with a little green pepper. Showing so, so well.

1996 Yquem, en imperial - mineral and flinty, honeydew melon, honey, orange blossom water, and saffron.

Victor very kindly offered a glass of this nectar to those of us celebrating a birthday:

What can I say? It was an amazing dinner, and of course Hairy Legs outdid himself. We were so full that we packed all the mignardises for my friends to take home to the kids. The two Victors made sure to pamper us and we got more attentive service than I've ever had in all the years I've been coming here. The Landlord and I should do this again, and soon!

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