February 5, 2022

The tiger king

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Mrs. Big Mac is in town for a few weeks, and I had to make sure to roll out the red carpet for her. She has, apparently, never paid a visit to Caprice, so we must make sure that she gets a proper pampering. Thankfully Hairy Legs was kind enough to save us seats at the Chef's Table, so my guests can watch the action in the kitchen.

This was the fifth day of the Year of the Tiger, so we made sure we brought a few lai see and passed them out to the staff for good luck. It is, after all, the holidays... and they're still working hard for us.

Oyster ⟪Gillardeau⟫ celeriac puree and green apple jelly - this was a nice way to start. We've got sweet Hokkaido sea urchin to go with the salty and rich caviar, and then the acidity from the green apple to work with the oyster. Refreshing and whets the appetite.

Grilled squid with artichoke and black truffle, chardonnay sauce - the squid was very, very fresh and beautifu. The black truffle chiffonade was, of course, always appreciated. But that sauce! The magical blend of chardonnay vinegar and black truffle has a sweetness and richness that was simply beautiful. Oh yes... they don't call Hairy Legs the "king of sauce" for nothing.

Butterfish with Amandine potatoes cooked in seaweed butter, cuttlefish bolognese and saffron sauce - a familiar dish, but with a different fish this time. What hasn't changed was that curious "bolognese" made with diced cuttlefish, the thin wafers of champignon de Paris, those Amandine potatoes with buckwheat and salifornia on top, and of course... THAT SAFFRON SAUCE! Yup... another plate scraped clean with leftover bread.

Alaskan crab laksa with confit egg, leeks, coriander, and hazelnuts - it's been way, way too long since I last had Hairy Leg's "laksa". The crab meat was still deliciously sweet, and the egg yolk brought extra viscosity to an already rich foam that leaves unmistakable traces of the spices on one's tongue. The baby coriander leaves contributed to the delicate aromatics without overwhelming the senses alongside crunchy hazelnuts, but I was surprised at the abundance of leeks today.

I greedily directed spoonful after spoonful of this decadent blend into my not-so-hungry but nevertheless eager mouth.

Pigeon cooked with foie gras Rougie, blackberries and celeriac etuve, light whiskey sauce and black truffle - this was certainly new to me. They shaved a thin, wide ribbon of celeriac using a mandolin, and wound it a few times around a farce. Drenched in a rich sauce made with pigeon liver, then balanced with a few pickled blackberries.

The center was actually a Rossini, but with pigeon instead of beef. Of course the pigeon was perfectly executed, and the foie gras from Rougie was tender and sinful. The slices of black truffle didn't hurt.

Baked Mont d'Or - I wasn't sure that we could handle this, but my friends decided to go for it. Baked Mont d'Or is always a good idea.

Hairy Legs then came to bury it in black truffle shavings. That was just totally sinful.

This particular specimen was very, very ripe and strong. Of course, having bits of black truffle and shallots marinated inside also made the flavors that much more complex.

Mont Blanc, cassis confit with vanilla ice cream - this was such a pretty Mont Blanc! The presence of blackcurrant (I thought it might have been blueberries today, as our server announced) confit and the cream meant this wasn't as sweet as expected. And that vanilla ice cream on the side was beautiful.

We were so full I almost asked the kitchen not to send us the mignardises, but remembered that Big Mac would probably want to pack them up to take home. Sure enough, he was happy to bring them upstairs for later.

We decided to take it easy when it came to wine, so just 2 bottles today...

2000 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs - nice and smooth, yeasty with some marmalade. Lovely and mature now.

1986 Ducru-Beaucaillou - drank 1 hour after decanting. A little grassy, some smoke along with grilled meats, and perhaps a little brett. Still got tannins, which was pretty amazing consider the age. Pretty fragrant nose, with some savory black tea and tapenade when opened up. Not as much fruit as I was expecting.

Hairy Legs very kindly offered us a glass of Sauternes to help ring in the year of the tiger.

1988 Yquem, en imperial - big nose of plastic, honey, and marmalade.

Yet another fantastic meal thanks to Hairy Legs, and hopefully the first of many for the year.

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