July 27, 2022

Occupy Amber: vegan.brown.butter

Pin It

Another year has passed and we once again find ourselves back at Amber. It's a vegetarian day for us, and after the lovely time we had last year, we were very much looking forward to see what Richard and his team have on offer. As was the case last year, we chose to go "light" and took the 6-course menu, but of course Richard wouldn't let us off so easily...

Our host generously started us off with a complimentary glass of Champagne.

2013 Legras Présidence Vieilles Vignes - a blanc de blancs meant this delivered a good hit of acidity, lively and full-bodied, with marmalade on the palate and some bitterness on the finish.

Our first amuse bouche was sliced asparagus and asparagus mousse with watercress purée, topped with pomme soufflé and Australian winter truffle. The asparagus was nice and crunchy.

Celtuce noodles - sliced "like pappardelle" (isn't pappardelle broader?), with scallion sprouts (芽ねぎ), perilla flowers, perilla leaves, (finger)lime caviar, and olive oil caviar. The "noodles" were refreshing and crunchy, with a slight kick that just tingles the tip of one's tongue and the back of one's throat. Sankala loves celtuce and we eat it regularly at home, so this was just up her alley. And mine, too.

One question, though: how are we supposed to pick up long strips of "noodles" with just a spoon?

Granny Smith ° moro kyuri ° wasabi ° shiso ° lime ° cucumber blossom ° - underneath the cross sections of small Japanese cucumbers sometimes referred to as "moro kyuri (もろきゅうり)", which are often used in the dish of the same name with fermented soy beans, we have wasabi-flavored panna cotta alongside an apple sauce made with Granny Smith apples featuring diced apples. There are also cucamelons which are especially crunchy, and garnished with perilla leaves and cucumber flowers. Really clean and refreshing flavors, while the acidity of the apples help sharpen the palate.

Corn ° seawater ° salicornia ° wakame ° Abequina extra virgin olive oil caviar ° sudachi ° - this was the only dish that is repeated from a year ago, but then again... it's kind of the vegetarian equivalent of the restaurant's signature Hokkaido sea urchin and caviar. Everything is hidden underneath the corn tuile. Oh yes, there seems to be an 'r' missing in the name of the olive on the menu...

The sweetness of the custard made with Okinawan corn finds balance with the acidity from the sudachi (酢橘) as well as the salt from the seawater foam. Salicornia also added a little salt on top of its crunchy texture.

Once again we have some sourdough bread.

Instead of the Bordier butter we used to have, tonight they served us VEGAN BROWN BUTTER. Chef Terry Ho tells us that it was being served for the first time tonight, and it just went through a round of tasting by the staff a few days ago. Made with cashews and coconut, it was then cooked with soya cream similar to the way one would make beurre noisette. I was ever so grateful that we were given the opportunity to taste this.

I never thought I would say this, but I ATE VEGAN BUTTER AND I LIKED IT! It really tasted like beurre noisette, with the acidity and depth of flavors, except it wasn't as sinfully rich. I did finish a whole quenelle of it along with a chunk of sourdough. After declining an offer for another quennelle, someone brought me one, anyway... so yeah... additional stomach space was taken up by more bread and more vegan butter.

Potato grenaille Noirmoutier ° Western Australian winter truffle ° wakame "aonori seaweed" ° wild clou de girolles mushroom ° shallot ° Italian parsley ° - I didn't really taste the salinity that one expects in potatoes from Noirmoutier, but they were very, very light and very smooth, as if they were only half solid and could float on water. There was black truffle purée with girolles at the bottom, which had some nice acidity to go with the umami of aonori (青海苔). The sticks of crispy potato and black truffle shavings on top were, of course, very tasty and really made the dish. The flavors here were pretty hearty, but somehow the potatoes made the dish feel much lighter. Seems like an oxymoron but a pleasant surprise.

The first of the extra courses arrived, which wasn't too much of a surprise.

Bulgur wheat ° watercress ° wet garlic ° spring green ° garlic flower - bulgur was cooked like risotto in a watercress purée, and came with spring onions, haricots verts (both green and white versions), and really tasty green garlic. There amount of flavors packed into this dish was pretty surprising.

Terry brought out this onion which was baked while wrapped in dough to retain moisture.

Fermented bell pepper ° fruit tomato ° cultured cashewnut butter ° Sechuan pepper corn ° extra virgin grapeseed oil ° red onion ° ginger ° watermelon ° - the romanesco was left to ferment so that there was plenty of acidity, and together with the little kick provided by Sichuan peppercorn oil, this tasted instantly familiar and so very Chinese. Later on it actually reminded me of chorizo, with that smoky, acidic, and slightly spicy flavor profile. For me the sauce really stole the show away from the sweet onion in the middle, as well as the little cubes of watermelon compressed with ginger and given a "meaty" texture - which both Richard and Sankala felt needs to be in bigger chunks.

Purple artichoke ° spring onion ° morel ° extra virgin Manni olive oil 'Per Me` ° - the artichokes were served on a bed of preserved black truffles and morels, and we've got sweetness to go along with the salt as well as acidity in the mix. The (Cevennes?) onions were nice and sweet, and we've also got thin discs of white button mushrooms on top.

Two desserts showed up next, and neither was the one I was meant to have as part of my tasting menu! What's going on?!

Sake leese ° raspberry ° raspberry vinegar ° puffed black Camargue rice ° rice milk ° - an updated version of what I had 3 years ago on my first visit to Amber 2.0. The sake kasu (酒粕) ice cream is still the same, but the puffed rice now completely coat it on the outside instead of being at the bottom. The raspberries are still delivering the fruity acidity, while the raspberry chips have changed shape. Still delicious.

Crown melon ˚ kyuri cucumber ˚ yellow melon ˚ yellow watermelon ˚ summer squash ˚ lime ˚ vanilla ˚ shiso ˚ grapeseed oil ˚ - this is a dessert I loved so much from a year ago, and I still love it. Crown melon is great, of course, and we've got sliced cucumber and cucumber jelly, squash and vanilla sorbet, garnished with crispy perilla leaves. Such a refreshing dessert with clean and pure flavors. I was a little surprised by the acidity in the cucumber jelly, though.

And I got a third dessert, which was actually what the menu said I should be having...

Conspiracy Dak Lak 90% bitter chocolate ˚ silken tofu ˚ cacao ˚ fermented cacao mucilage ˚ Dak Lak cacao nibs ˚ yuba ˚ - the chocolate "mousse" was made with silken tofu in lieu of cream, more foam-like in texture, silky smooth and airy. The darker colored center was a praliné of cacao nibs that was denser and sweeter. The crisps on top were made of either yuba (湯葉) and cacao. Then the honey-like vinegar made by fermenting the mucilage of the cacao pod was drizzled on top, and this was pretty interesting.

Amatika vegan chocolate - the cream was very nutty and had some acidity. The middle of the sunflower was actually a praliné of sunflower seeds.

And we have the mignardises:

The organic fruits tonight come from organic farms in Taiwan, and included wax apple, lychees, and pineapple.

Japanese peach tart

85% chocolate tart with toasted almonds

The buckwheat madeleines here are still not to my liking... still too dry and grainy/powdery in texture, but I must be in the minority.

Ambershu - yuzu (柚子) flavor tonight. Lovely.

We took it easy tonight on wine, just bringing one bottle of Bordeaux Blanc:

2018 Blanc de Lynch-Bages - pretty ripe on the palate, with tons of green apple, some muscat grape. Almost oily in terms of texture.

I was completely stuffed by the end of dinner. Actually, I was full after the bulgur, but I still had to take in 2 savory courses, 3 desserts, plus the mignardises. Even if it was all veg, that was still too much food. But it was all very, very tasty, and we were happy that when we needed to, we could count on Richard and his team to deliver a wonderful vegetarian option. I do think that the third green star is very well-deserved.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map