August 18, 2021

Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux!

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It has been quite some time since I was last at Écriture, and it's been even longer for Sankala.  As the four of us were discussing where to go for our next gathering, we ended up tossing out all the Chinese options and opted for this.  Belo hasn't been back for a long time, and the Baller has never been here, so the choice definitely made sense.

I was actually tempted to ask for their vegetal menu, but I wasn't sure whether we would be able to take different menus for the table (it turns out that we could have), so I just let things be. Besides, Maxime had offered to tailor the menu a little to match the wines we were bringing, so I figured it was best just to sit back and see what comes our way. Most of our dishes tonight came from the Library of Flavours, with a couple of substitutions.


Pomme dauphine, horseradish cream and caviar - a little lemon zest on top makes things a little more interesting.

Yakitori of Mont Saint Michel mussels, glaze with peach syrup, served like a Charentaise eclade - these were smoked with pine at the table under a glass dome, and definitely very smoky.

Lamb sweetbread nuggets, geranium egg white mayonnaise - nice to nibble on, and the mayo came with a nice little kick.

«Tartatouille» - bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes in a tart. Very nice, and the size was just right for 1 or 2 bites.

Bone marrow brioche French toast pigeon ham and pressed caviar - the initial hit from the pressed caviar and pigeon breast ham on top was very salty, but as the brioche itself was sweet, they kinda neutralized each other and worked out well. Not surprising that this was a little fatty and rich.

The bread is now made in-house by Cyrus Yan. Pretty good.

Hello, my friend... It's been 9 long months since I last saw you. The days, it seems, have not been so kind to you...

Iwashi served raw, indigo tomatoes, ratatouille consommé - these slices of sardines from Osaka Bay were fatty, soooo tender and tasty. The very sweet indigo tomatoes were stuffed with eggplant caviar and tomato paste. We've also got 'ratatouille bouillon consommé'. Really, really tasty.

Ebisu oyster, Loire Vallée French bean in garlic butter, tonburi cured in beef ham, sea water and oyster dashi, sour cream - Maxime had initially told us that he was changing this dish for us as it doesn't match the wines we were having tonight. It is, therefore, a mystery as to why we were served this dish... since it really didn't work! Yes, I did love the flavors of the oysters - which were sweet and a little briny - but they completely clashed with red Bordeaux... as one would expect.  There was also salt from the kobujime (昆布締め) wagyu beef, and tonburi (とんぶり) which had been cured by wrapping in cecina. Some sour cream helped to balance out the salt, and the there seemed to have been some raw garlic here that was just a little spicy.

Sankala and I didn't take the supplemental caviar and uni tart because, well, we've had it before and didn't need more food. But since the Baller has never tried it, Belo agreed to share it with him. And by sharing, she meant taking ¼ of a tart meant for two, leaving the Baller with ¾ for himself...

Green peas, bone marrow soufflé, celeriac and lardo emulsion infuse with liquorice, black truffle - the fricassé of local green peas was just fucking beautiful, even without the bone marrow and shaved black truffle. The delicate lardo flavors in the celeriac foam was just... MUAH! But of course... LARDO!!!!!!!

The bone marrow soufflé was delish.

Plouneour Menez pigeon, cooked in lavender sugar crust, cherry carpaccio, cherry and lavender sauce - the pigeon from Brittany was really, really beautiful. Perfect execution - rosé exactly as I would want it. Served on a bed of cherry 'carpaccio' and hibiscus, cherry, and lavender sauce.

Plouneour Menez pigeon, parmentier with legs confit - on the side we've got parmentier as a second service with some cherries and Délicatesse potatoes. Really liked the crunchy crust on top of the layer of creamy potato mash.

The Bresse chicken came cooked inside a sourdough loaf. First a layer of fresh herb butter was spread under the skin.  The chicken is then dipped in butter - apparently just like one would dip something in chocolate - the evening before and aired.  Then it is wrapped in sourdough the next morning, proofed, and baked for under an hour.  The chicken rests for another 5 hours or so before being finished.

Mieral Bresse chicken: breast with anchoïade, finished with sea urchin - with chicken jus and thyme oil together with the sea urchin anchoïade. I gotta say that I was impressed with what Maxime has done here. As he explained, when he first arrived in Hong Kong, he was definitely not a fan of Chinese steamed chicken with its soft skin. But now he is serving up a chicken breast that is somewhat inspired by Hainanese chicken, and I like it. The anchoïade, though, was definitely on the salty side.

Mieral Bresse chicken: xiao long bao with the forgotten and red bell pepper bouillon - with heart, gizzard, liver, neck, crown, and a little bit of the wings. OK, so this isn't gonna be like what I'm used to getting from Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) as the wrapper is clearly on the thick side, but I do think it's cool that they are trying to do something different. There wasn't much bouillon left inside, and Sankala complained about hers breaking and having all the liquid leaked out, but the flavors were still pretty nice... and not as heavy as I had expected.

Mieral Bresse chicken: serve with grilled thigh, pilaf rice and yolk - now THIS I really liked. The grilled chicken thigh reminded me of a good teriyaki (照焼き) chicken, as the skin was tender yet crispy and charred around the edges. The rice was mixed with vinegar just like sushi shari. The egg yolk was added to the sauce much like a yakitori joint would. Loved it.

A toast made with the bread that the chicken was cooked in, with sea urchin butter and topped with truffle. A pretty nice bite.

We were already pretty full by now, but there was still one more savory main course to come...

Pithivier: French wild duck, Eric Jaquier smoked fera from Leman Lake and duck foie gras, wrapped in sea lettuce and cooked in homemade tourte dough green leaves - I first tried this pithivier about 3 years ago, and I didn't think it worked then. I thought it was much improved tonight.

The fera from Lac Leman a.k.a. Lake Geneva was indeed smoky, and a little salty for my taste. The foie gras was really thick, but really beautiful. Zee duck worked well in the package, as one would expect. I didn't taste any bitterness this time around in the dish, which was my main objection last time. I do wish we had one course less tonight, because I wasn't really able to finish this and enjoy it as much as I would have liked.

Cherry: sorbet and marmalade, faisselle, lavender panna cotta - in addition to the cherry sorbet that was on top and the cherries, there was also cherry jam, faisselle mousseline made from goat's milk. The flavors of the violet candy on top were pretty strong. Very nice.

Buckwheat: mousse, chocolates sorbet, caramelized nuts - supposedly inspired by Snickers, we've got sorbet made with 85% chocolate, along with caramelized cocoa nibs, chocolate ganache, sablé, and buckwheat praline. Pretty decent.

We were then hit with the barrage of mignardises...

Blueberry tart - we packed this home. Just really didn't have any room for this.

Charentais melon - that's always nice.

Hazelnut bon bons - basically Ferrero Rocher but with salted caramel inside. Soooo good.

We also packed the chocolate tart.

Tonight was more about the wines, and Marc-Antoine very kindly started us off with a glass of bubbly:

Francis Boulard Les Murgiers, dégorgée le 7 decembre 2020 - some ripeness on the palate with a little mineral.

The reds tonight were in honor of one of the best known wine personalities in Hong Kong, whose recent passing has been mourned by many in town. The theme quickly escalated into an all-1982 Bordeaux evening, and as Vincent always used to remind us: "Bordeaux! Toujours Bordeaux!"

1982 Latour à Pomerol - decanted 2 hours after opening and served 15 minutes later. Very fragrant and floral, smoky, grilled meats, woodsy notes. Medium-bodied, a little soapy on the palate. Slightly too warm now but drinking pretty well.

1982 Margaux - decanted 2½ hours earlier, back in bottle 1½ hours later, and into a second decanter just prior to serving. Nose was very floral, fragrant, sweet on the nose but dry on the palate. Tannins are still kinda here. Bigger, more smoky nose with plenty of tobacco.

1982 Haut-Brion - decanted 3½ hours earlier, back in bottle 1 hour later. Lovely and fragrant nose with smoke and woodsy notes. A little sweet on the palate. Almost 5 hours after opening the wine has peaked and gone downhill.

1982 La Mission Haut-Brion - decanted 3½ hours earlier, back in bottle 1 hour later, and into a second decanter 1 hour prior to serving. Unfortunately this bottle was corked so the grassy, wet cardboard nose was dominating everything else.

Once again, Maxime tried to kill me with food, and the others just became collateral damage. But it really was a fun evening, though...


Unknown said...


Markus Schmidt said...

How does he get the Féra from Lake Geneva? There are only a handful of professional fishermen left around Lake Geneva, and while 'les féras du lac' are not difficult to come by, I have never seen or eaten them outside Switzerland or neighboring France....

Peech said...

Markus, the name of the supplier/fisherman is mentioned on the menu.

Markus Schmidt said...

the pithivier dish is not (at least not visible to me) available on the online menu, so the supplier probably is named on the printed menu... would be nice to learn who that actually is/was, as I may know him.... must make a visit to Ecriture next time i/we manage to make it to HK and once the forever-changing quarantine requirements are relaxed.

Peech said...

Markus, it's Eric Jaquier and his name is included in the name of the dish. You must have missed it while reading the post.

Markus Schmidt said...

mea culpa!! thanks


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