December 19, 2021

Two nights with Sato: good Charlotte

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We were running late for dinner. Our ferry back from Lai Chi Wo arrived at the pier half an hour later than scheduled, and after we got home we just had to take a hot shower to warm ourselves up after being out in the cold for an hour and a half. I had warned Sato-san and Babu about us being late, and thankfully they were very understanding.

This would be the first of two dinners I would be having at Ta Vie 旅 in three days, so I requested to have different dishes for the two nights. I am ever grateful that Sato-san was willing to oblige me.

As usual we start with their house made butter and ricotta.

The signature nukazuke (糠漬け) bread is as good as ever. Truly one of the best fresh baked breads in Hong Kong, IMHO.

Lobster and Japanese turnip warm salad, turnip leaf oil, Stilton sauce, fresh apple - the lobster was seasoned with 8 different spices including basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, paprika, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. It was so, so tender and tasty. The turnip delivered nice and clean flavors, and the green apple brought just a touch of acidity to balance out the strong flavors from the Stilton. Pretty interesting dish to start our dinner with.

Simmered "Aka" abalone from 房総半島 cooked with 20 years aged Shaoxing wine and 5 years aged "利尻" kombu kelp - my special request for Babu, who loves abalone. These came from Boso Peninsula (房総半島) in Chiba Prefecture (千葉県). Slow-cooked with 25(?)-year-old Shaoxing and 5-year-old kelp from Rishiri Island (利尻島) off Hokkaido. The texture was very, very tender. I thought the seasoning was fine, but apparently both of my companions felt it was a little too salty for their tastes.

Home made "いくら" salmon roe with cauliflower and barley risotto - I love it when chefs create "risotto" with ingredients other than rice. And this version came with lots of cured salmon roe - one of my favorite things since childhood. Spiced up with some horseradish and lemon zest.

What seemed to be a risotto made with just finely diced cauliflower and barley actually came with little bits of lightly grilled wild salmon, which explained the slightly chewy texture I found in some mouthfuls. Loved the balance of flavors.

Home made rustic bread

"Aburi" lightly torched "Aori" squid, grilled avocado with French oscietra caviar - I'm not the biggest fan of avocado, but I kinda get why it was used as a serving vessel for the caviar - which was salted just the right amount to bring out the light and clean flavors. The bigfin reef squid (アオリイカ) was ever so lightly torched to that the flavors and texture were very delicate. The pistachios were very fragrant after toasting.

Charcoal grilled kinmedai "金目鯛" from 下田 with crispy scales - I love splendid alfonsino (金目鯛), and we have a strip which was first pan-seared and then charcoal grilled. The scales were indeed crispy, and the flesh was as succulent as I expected. Paired with Shimonita leek (下仁田ネギ) and a sauce made from the leek, lemon juice, and olive oil. Delicious.

Roasted baby lamb saddle from Quercy, French with seasonal vegetables - so we've got the saddle of baby lamb which have been stuffed in the middle with ribeye. This was very, very beautiful. The lamb kidney on the side was very, very gamey... and a little too much for me. The braised veggies were pretty nice.

Roselle tea - always so cool and refreshing, and love the infusion of orange.

"Charlotte aux poires": "Le Lectier" Japanese fresh pear, with fromage blanc mousse, scent of bergamot, ginger - a slice of Le Lectier (ル レクチエ) pear from Niigata Prefecture (新潟県) has been hollowed out and encased with fromage blanc mousse, with a strip of biscuit down one side. The sauce made of pear, bergamot zest, bergamot juice, ginger, and vanilla was very fragrant and beautiful. What a lovely dessert!

Fresh persimmon with vanilla ice cream, topped with goji berry, salted egg yolk - the brioche was soaked in rum and sweet mirin (味醂), topped with persimmon, vanilla ice cream, freeze-dried goji (枸杞) berries, rum-soaked goji berries, shaved salted egg yolk, and goji berry cookies in the shape of maple leaves. A pretty-looking and delicious dessert.

Chocolate mousse - I needed some coffee as I was kinda exhausted from our excursion today, and that meant my petit four would be my favorite chocolate mousse in the world. The fragrance of kaffir lime is simply irresistible!

I really, really enjoyed my dinner tonight, and I think Babu had a pretty good time, too. It's been too long since we last caught up, and I really should make more of an effort to spend time with her.


Michael L said...

That's an unusual alcohol free dinner...

Peech said...

LOL Michael, very observant! Too tired that day to have wine. Would have fallen asleep at the table, no doubt...

Michael L said...

Thx for all those great posts on wine and food! But do take care of your body.


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