January 22, 2022

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

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Thanks to the Hong Kong government cancelling dinner service, our semi-regular gathering over a few bottles of wine had to be rescheduled.  During these tough times restaurants like Écriture have to adapt just to be able to pay the bills, and I'm sure they are thankful that people like ourselves don't mind going out for 'lunner' at 3 p.m.

I always thought there should be occasion for the Film Buff and I to pop open a few bottles of Aussie wines. While they constitute a pretty small portion of my collection, I always have a special place in my heart for some Aussie shiraz. As for my friend, well... He would have a lot more interesting stuff in his cellar. So I decided to be wine Nazi again and insisted that we only bring Aussie wines, much to the dismay of the Candidate.

We started our meal with the usual premices:

Pomme dauphine, horseradish cream and caviar - this is a staple here, and I'm still fond of the balance between the salty caviar with the rich cream, with that kick from the horseradish. This was introduced as the Comté gougère... but looked exactly the same as what I'd had on previous visits.

French oysters, chipolata, garlic cream steam with mint sake - so these were steamed under glass domes by pouring "mint sake" - whatever that is - onto hot pebbles. The chipolata was pretty nice and we've got some acidity here.

Lamb sweetbread nuggets, chamomille egg white mayonnaise - my least favorite of the nibbles. It's usually cold by the time I get to it.

Pumpkin tart

Bone marrow brioche French toast pigeon ham and pressed caviar - the pigeon hamd and pressed caviar were pretty salty, but thankfully we've got finger lime caviar to deliver a dose of acidity.

Brioche feuilletée - I knew there would be a lot of food, but still couldn't resist having this. Just too good.

I don't come to visit my friend nearly as often as I should.

Normandy scallops: cooked in its shell over charcoal, Oteiza pork feet, sage - pork feet and black truffle were placed inside these scallops shells before being sealed with dough and cooked over charcoal.

The scallops were a little more done than mi-cuit. For some reason I thought I tasted something pungent like blue cheese in the emulsion.

Soufflé: topinambour, vanilla - I've had the savory soufflé here before, and today they came with some fricassé of Jerusalem artichoke brunoise, which were pretty crunchy. Then we had crunchy chips of the Jerusalem artichoke, shavings of black truffle, and an abundance of vanilla foam. I must say I wasn't a fan, as I found it strange to pair the sweet vanilla foam with the other earthy, savory elements.

Morel: seared in vin jaune, mushrooms custard, smoked eel and parsley roots dashi, tarragon - we've got some smoked eel on top of a morel custard, which was then topped with morels. The whole thing was then drowned in a dashi (出汁) of morels, smoked eel, along with a purée of parsley root. Nice and comforting.

Line caught sole: morel, ikura, chorizo, sauce vin jaune - the Dover sole came with yet more parsley root purée and marigold oil on the side, and a sauce made of morels, chorizo, and cooked salmon roe. I must say that this was likely the first time I've ever had salmon roe that has been cooked, and I'm really not a fan. I did like the rest of the dish, though... especially the sole.

Duck foie gras and abalone: black truffle soup and liver mustard - this was another dish that was new to me, where thin slices of abalone was served alongside thin slices of poached foie gras and chiffonade of black truffle.

I did like the forward, lively flavors of the abalone, but I found the whole thing to be too salty thanks to the broth made of foie, abalone, and truffle. While I normally enjoy the heavy, metallic flavors of abalone liver sauce, the kitchen decided to add some mustard into the mix... and I'm not sure that acidity helped in this case.

Aveyron blanc de blancs lamb: cutlets with buckwheat, confit neck, physalis and cardamon - the 3-month old lamb was very, very delicious. The cutlets were encrusted with buckwheat which delivered some very nice, toasty flavors along with crunchy texture. The neck was good, too. And we had some diced whelk.

The saddle came with thin wafers of physalis, and the sauce tasted pretty strongly of cardamom.

Pear: poached in honey, tonka crisps, pear sorbet - I liked this pear and tonka combination. Very refreshing, and the complex flavors from tonka beans made the whole thing a lot less monotonous.

Pithiviers - we've passed the epiphany so technically this was no longer a galette de roi, but that didn't matter. It still tasted pretty damn good, with a lower ratio of filling to crust.

Strawberries from Fukuoka

Hazelnut bon bons - with salted caramel inside.

We brought so many bottles of Aussie wines that we ended up with 2 bottles that we didn't even get to open...

Between Five Bells Yellow - very toasty, very fragrant, sweet on the nose but the acidity on the palate from the savagnin makes one do a double-take. Buttery from the chardonnay in the blend. Two hours after opening this was fucking awesome, with flinty and mineral notes.

2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay - nice and buttery as expected, oaky, very flinty and mineral. Drinking beautifully.

2004 Kilikanoon Shiraz M Reserve - served a little more than 1 hour after decanting. Earthy, leathery, minty, sweet on the palate, with a little ripe prunes. More classic shiraz from McLaren Vale.

2004 Kilikanoon Shiraz Attunga 1865 - served a little more than 1 hour after decanting. An amazing shiraz from vines planted in 1865. A much more elegant and fragrant offering from the cooler Clare Valley, and the cooler fruit was very obvious. Not your typical Aussie shiraz for sure. A slight hint of plastic on the palate later.

1990 Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz - very ripe and sweet, more smoky. More classic Aussie shiraz.

Very happy to have the opportunity to support friends in the food and beverage industry during these tough times. Hopefully the teams can pull through this period and we can continue to benefit from their hard work.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What? Only 5 bottles? That’s kinda wimpy. Good to see some Aussie Chard’s in there though!


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