March 6, 2022

A partially-free lunch

Pin It

The majority of posts I put up about visits I pay Uwe Opocensky inevitably starts with something along the lines of "It has been quite some time since I last visited...", "I have been remiss...", or "I've been a terrible friend..." While I have had a long friendship with my chef friend, for one reason or another I don't visit him nearly enough. And he's not exactly shy about reminding me... dropping occasionally hints in his messages to me.

So... I guess I did respond to his nudges. And I grabbed DaRC and Ro Ro along. In this socially-distanced dystopian version of the former "Asia's world city", four of us are now seated at two separate tables sufficiently spaced apart at Petrus. I did request for Uwe to "not kill us" but alas, he said "that's what friends are for."

I never know how much food we would get, but Uwe did say that he wanted to try out a few things with us. So... off we go!

Salmon stones - I wonder if this was still Ōra King salmon marinated with kombu (昆布), with an oyster leaf underneath. With truffle and sesame (and soy?) dressing.

Cheese gougères

Mushroom maki - with bits of pickled ginger together with the mushrooms. Very Japanese in terms of flavor, especially with that acidity.

Croquette with caviar - with sour cream inside and lots of lemon zest, too.  But I must say that I have never enjoyed it when caviar comes cooked... and become tiny, chewy fish balls.

New potatoes, haddock panna cotta, caviar - the potatoes were cooked in seaweed butter and came on top of a layer of panna cotta made of smoked haddock, with some brunoise of celeriac and cucumber inside. We then had a "gentle quenelle of caviar" - whatever Uwe meant by that - on top together with some mini greens. The acidity from the oily dressing worked very well with the potatoes. A dish that's both pretty and tasty.

White asparagus tart, eel, blood orange - I must say I didn't like the buckwheat pie crust as I tasted some nutty oil that seemed to have gone off. Otherwise, though, this was a fantastic dish. The upright segments of white asparagus came topped with cold blood orange sabayon, looking like marble columns with their tops ablaze with orange flame. Fennel fronds and tarragon brought some additional color. Below the columns is a layer of asparagus and coconut, then a layer of blood orange jelly, and finally a layer of eel just above the crust.

Sankala called these "toilet rolls" because, well, the kitchen decided to shave very thin wafers of the white asparagus which had been confit with coconut and rolled them up - with brown eel mousse stuffing which looked like the cardboard tubes. These were very, very fine and tasty.

The hot blood orange sabayon is meant to be spooned on top of the "toilet rolls".

Foie gras artichoke - this was so, so pretty! It looked just like a halved artichoke on the plate, except it wasn't. The molded exterior was actually a foie gras panna cotta. A sprinkle of spinach powder, along with lemon gel and black garlic.

Underneath there's a ragout made of French ham, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke wrapped around a bloc of foie gras terrine stuffed inside. There was actually bits of diced carrots which seemed to have been slightly dehydrated inside the ragout. This was actually similar to digging into a pâté en croûte, except the pastry shell has been replaced by more foie gras.

Very, very nice.

I totally forgot about the truffle brioche on the side which was supposed to go with the foie gras... so I had this on its own after I was finished with the dish. Face palm.

Morels, olive wagyu, Parmesan - we've got a layer of Parmesan foam at the top, and chargrilled morels from Yunnan Province (雲南省) which have been stuffed with the "olive-fed wagyu (和牛)" from cattle raised on island of Shodoshima (小豆島) in Kagawa Prefecture (香川県).

At the bottom there was a ragout of olives, morels, carrots, and croûtons along cubes of the olive wagyu. Very big and in-your-face flavors here, from the Parmesan foam to the smoky morels to the well-seasoned ragout. So tasty but soooo heavy.

We were also recommended to add some beef and morel consommé into the mix, but I didn't consider that necessary so I just drank it from a spoon.

I jokingly asked Uwe whether this dish was considered to be the "morel course" or the "beef course," as had it been the latter, it would signal we would only have dessert coming up. Alas, this was "morel" and not "beef"...

Boston lobster: pithivier / sucrine salad / red wine jus - apparently, yes, this was a lighter dish compared to the previous one. We got half a pithivier with a salad of sucrine lettuce topped with medallions of lobster claw, fennel, fennel fronds, and fennel flowers. Lobster jus made "like a red wine."

There was a layer of lettuce just inside the pastry, followed by a mousse made with lobster coral and claws wrapped around the lobster tail in the middle. The lobster had a fantastic springy texture, and there were plenty of flavors from the mousse.

We were shown this wild duck that had been glazed with Whisky before flambé and smoked with pine.

French wild duck: parsnip / smoked pine / Whisky - I was pretty surprised at the size of these slices... as they were pretty much bite-sized. Very gamey and tasty. Parsnip purée, parsnip, quince, and pine jelly. The croquette with the duck's heart, liver, and leg was very nice and tasty.

Baby banana: peanut / caramel / rum - HMMMMM... this looks familiar... no? When you put caramel and rum together, it's not possible to not taste good.

Japanese mandarin: baba / rum / Chantilly cream - very nice. But a little too much for me to finish on my own.

Madeleines - sadly, they haven't improved on this. Today even the inside was dry.  The tartlet was tasty, though.

I have been wanting to open a particular bottle with DaRC for a long time, and finally got the chance to bring out this Californian pinot today. He brought a Burg to match, but we needed a bottle of white. This was when my friend discovered another hidden gem among the restaurant's wine list - much like our lunch here a year and a half ago. Once in a while in some restaurants it is possible to find a bottle that is listed at below current retail price, and that's when wine nerds cannot resist the urge to pop that bottle... One can always justify it by thinking that the wine helps to subsidize part of the cost of lunch...

2004 Raveneau Chablis Valmur - lemon citrus notes, still got good acidity with some ripeness, with some notes of straw after 15 minutes.  Opened up more after 30 minutes showing bigger nose of oak.  Still going strong more than 1 hour and 15 minutes after opening, showing some green notes and also acetone.

1990 Thomas-Moillard Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Malconsorts - served 30 minutes after opening. Showing some age here with savory black olive and a little smoke. Pretty nice and smooth on the palate, some black fruits with leather notes. Showing nicely 1 hour after opening and matching well with the morels.

2002 Kistler Pinot Noir Cuvée Catherine - served 1 hour after opening. Very big nose of toasty oak, a little rubber... almost like Blu Tack, still sharp and alcoholic, and very extracted. Opened up and much nicer 2 hours after opening and mellowed out.

I managed to survive another murder attempt, and surprised that I wasn't in pain by the end of the meal. Very happy to have tasted these dishes, and I do think they've upped their game. Let's see how long it would take before my next visit...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map