October 10, 2021

Stayin' alive, 1 year on

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It was just one year ago that a few of us gathered in the back of a restaurant to witness me finally growing up. One year later, Sankala and I are back at Caprice for our annual celebration of the occasion. It's Sunday night and I don't need to get up for work the next morning, so I'm in for a nice and relaxing evening.

Hairy Legs and Suveg decided to send over some new dishes we haven't had before, and made a special request for one particular dish I wanted to try.

Button mushroom and foie gras gelée tart

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar

Pita with curry chicken mousse

Pâté en croûte - the figs on the side were very nice, with fresh figs, gel, and the fillings inside those spheres. The sweetness from the fruit worked well with the pâté. Amazingly, this was the first time Sankala had ever tasted Hairy Legs' pâté en croûte.

Lots of seasoning like black pepper to go with the stronger flavors.

The next dish was my lone request. I had missed out on tasting Hairy Leg's dish for the Krug x Onion pairing, and I asked him to serve that dish tonight. Originally we were meant to share a portion, but since the kitchen had baked this just for us, they decided each of us should get our own half...

Roscoff onion and ham baked in brioche with tarragon sauce - the onion was so sweet and this worked very well with the salty ham. We've got a layer of mushroom duxelles between the ham and the onion. And that tarragon sauce with onion and Champagne! Mon dieu! Il est vraiment le roi de la sauce!

That sauce was so good that I ended up almost finishing my half of the brioche. I was ready to call it a night after the first two courses...

We would, of course, not forget the other half of the pairing... so we ended up with a half bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée.

Krug Grande Cuvée, 169ème édition, en demi-bouteille, ID 319028 - nice with marmalade notes, good acidity on the palate. The acidity in the Champagne worked well with the salt from the ham and the creaminess of the sauce.

Ceps, girolles, and figs with mushroom emulsion - I really didn't need another heavy dish after the last one, but there we were. A thick layer of mushroom custard was at the bottom, which I decided not to finish. I was thankful for some acidity coming from the fresh figs, which helped to cut the richness of the sauce and the custard. The fragrance of fresh tarragon felt really refreshing in the mouth in the midst of all the rich flavors. BURP!

The sommelier very kindly poured us a glass of red to go with the mushrooms.

2019 Pierre-Henri Rougeot Gevrey-Chambertin En Grands Champs - minty, fresh, initially cold fruit. Still kinda young with forest notes, stemmy, black cherries, and strawberries. An hour later the nose was really full of strawberries.

Kinki with stuffed zucchini flower, sea urchin sauce - needless to say the fillet of broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次) was very, very tender and well-executed. Slices of razor clams circled the dish, along with some dill which brought some intense fragrance. But speaking of intense... that rich sea urchin sauce had a ton of dry vermouth as well as wasabi, giving it a strong dose of acidity as well as a spicy kick.

The zucchini flower on the side was stuffed with fish mousse. Very smooth.

We had asked to share one portion of the next dish, but this was again misunderstood by the kitchen. They gave each of us half of the à la carte portion - which would have been one tasting portion - and not half of the tasting portion.

Roasted Challans duck breast - we've got figs, onions, and fresh almonds on the side.

Zee duck was very nicely done. The skin was thick with a good amount of chewiness - and fattiness!

Sankala picked out a few types of cheese as she passed on dessert:

Coulommiers - salty and nutty.

This was a pyramid-shaped goat cheese. A lot more salty, smoky, like walnuts, and the acidity was much higher, too. Very gamey and the rind had strong ammonia flavors. Everything was just more intense.

Mimolette, 24 months - intense flavors, with salty, acidic, and bitter notes.

Beaufort - creamy with good acidity.

The pre-dessert was a brown sugar sponge cake with figs and figs sorbet. A little bit of cheese mousse in the middle.

Exotic calisson, passion fruit and coriander sorbet - I always love this dessert, as it's got all the fruity, tropical flavors like mango, passion fruit, coconut... together with chocolate. That passion fruit and coriander sorbet on top is always really refreshing.

I forgot to ask them not to send us the mignardises, so we still got a bunch that I ended up taking home...

Pistachio and apricot religieuse - the pistachio flavors were good.

Chocolate with hazelnut and liquid chocolate caramel

Lemon tart

A special occasion always deserves a special bottle of wine, so I brought something that was fit for the occasion...

2020 Chacra Chardonnay - flinty, tropical stone fruit, much riper on palate than expected but the acidity is there. Still going strong more than 3½ hours later, and the tropical stone fruit notes are still here.

Once again, we left the restaurant completely stuffed but happy. Many thanks to Hairy Legs and the entire team for taking good care of us as always. I'm also grateful to still be alive, one year later...

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