February 4, 2022

The new new Nordic

Pin It

I have always enjoyed my visits to Frantzén's Kitchen over the last few years, and I felt that the restaurant and its cuisine has been underrated, although they do have a legion of devoted fans. Well, the team left the Frantzén Group fold last month, and Embla is now born in its place. I'm a big fan of Jim Löfdahl's, and I'm happy that he's chosen to stay in Hong Kong and continue to serve up his Nordic cuisine. When I was asked by a friend to join him at the restaurant today - the the day of its official opening - I didn't hesitate to say "Yes".

The location remains the same, but there has been some added touches to the space, which made it feel more welcoming. It has been almost exactly one year since my last lunch in this space, and it was good to see some familiar faces including Jim's as well as Gary's. We were given a choice of the short or the long menu, and of course our group of six took the long option.

Sour milk bread and home churned butter - this was definitely not enough butter... not when The Great One is sitting across from me and "sharing" the butter. Of course we ended up asking for more. The bread was on the sweet side and came with bits of walnut, and I really liked the crust.

Lobster - shiitake roll, apple, Swedish gin espuma and ginger ale granita - I liked the diced lobster and shiitake (椎茸) inside the roll, and the apple provided a little crunch as well as some sweetness. A little brown butter on top with the juniper salt gave it a little more ooomph. I liked the granita as it was refreshing, but the espuma was definitely on the bitter side, just like a gin and tonic.

Trio of Nordic flavours: these came in 3 bowls which were stacked together.

The rye crisp bread came with goat cheese and beetroot, along with onion pickled in soy sauce and rice vinegar. The licorice seasoning was pretty nice and made the presence of beetroot bearable.

The cripy mixed seed cracker carried on top a mix of yellowtail gravad lax as well as brown crab roe blended into crab meat, with dots of horseradish and avocado emulsion. This was OK.

Yellow pea pancake with tartare and vendace roe. This was also OK.

Celeriac fondant, smoked tea aspic, fermented onion nage and sturgeon caviar - the Lapsang tea definitely lent its smoky flavors to the aspic, the fermented nage brought nice acidity to neutralize the salty caviar.

Wild turbot, butter poached skirt, lemon thyme velouté and white mushroom purée - the turbot from Brittany was aged for 3 days then brined. The texture was really nice and springy. The bits of turbot wing on top were poached in butter, then served with an emulsion of turbot and clams - with some clams also. The potato and mushroom purée on the side was kinda interesting, but the best part was the sauce made with vermouth, thyme, and lemongrass. Very, very nice.

An extra dish from Jim, which was described as a "risotto" of potato, squid, and cauliflower. Interesting contrast of textures especially with crispy buckwheat on top, which was accompanied by a sauce made of langoustines and truffle and mimicked squid ink. The sauce smelled very strong, almost fermented. This was very, very delicious.

Lamb neck "72H", charred eggplant, semi dried tomatoes, goat cheese and pumpkin seed vinaigrette - the neck of fatty winter lamb was baked at 60°C for 3 days, then brushed with molasses. Topped with some goat cheese, dehydrated cherry tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds. The lamb fat was sooooo fantastically tasty. The charred eggplant and oyster purée on the side was beautiful with its acidity. The strong combination of flavors just worked so well together.

Lingonberry sorbet, grey pear, Norwegian brown cheese and oat cookie - really refreshing with some acidity from the lingonberries to go with the brunost.

Toasted hay ice cream, Swedish whisky, chocolate and pecan nuts - apparently the hay came from a certain pet shop in Causeway Bay which used to sell hamsters, which explains the particular gamey flavors. The brownie was very wet, and very sweet thanks to the reduction of birch sap.

As it's a work day, I decided not to partake in any alcohol. Instead I had a cup of coffee at the end, which Jim said was brewed at double strength.

It was good to be able to enjoy a relaxing lunch on a Friday, with flavors which were already familiar to me. I'm looking forward to coming back with Sankala - as soon as the dining restrictions loosen up.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map