August 18, 2022

Krug! Krug! Krug!

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PR8 knows I don't accept invitations lightly, especially since I do live up to my reputation as the Arrogant Prick, so he only asks me occasionally when he hasn't invited anyone I intensely dislike. Thankfully this time around he did so at the behest of Agustin Balbi at Andō, which has recently been appointed a Krug Ambassade. Well, I'm a fan of both Krug Champagne and of the restaurant, so I happily accepted the invitation.

On arrival, I was relieved to discover that I've been banished to Siberia... that is to say, the private room where I will be far away from others. PR8 has thoughtfully seated me with people I already know, so I was pretty sure I would have an enjoyable evening.

We start off with a caviar tasting, which didn't surprise me. Just like my last visit, we were presented with 3 canapés using three different sources of caviar.

Tostada cracker, Hokkaido sea urchin, Petrossian Daurenki Tsar Imperial Caviar - of course the sea urchin was creamy and sweet, while the green cream underneath was made with tarama and wasabi - adding some familiar flavors.

Wagyu beef tartare, Kaviari Kristal Caviar - the beef was hand-diced and seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, and yuzukosho (柚子胡椒) - the latter of which provided a noticeable kick. There were also some arare (ぶぶあられ) at the bottom for crunch. The flavors turned really metallic once this interacted with the Champagne.

Avocado purée, smoked ara, green peas, Nomad Ossetra Caviar - the diced sawedged perch (アラ) was pretty interesting, and the peas tasted pretty green.

Ama ebi, citrus, rice chip - both the shrimp and scallops came from Hokkaido, with the latter marinated in citrus. The cream sauce that came packed with crustacean flavors was made with shio kombu (塩昆布), diced green apple, and lemon zest. We've also got zucchini ribbons as well as tapioca crackers on top, along with fennel fronds, basil, and marigold leaves. A very tasty dish.

Cien años no son nada - now we have the usual bread course with three different types of bread including poppyseed, onion and saffron, as well as tomato sourdough.

But this was to showcase the olive oil - El Mil del Poaig - made with farga olives from trees which are more than a thousand years old. I didn't check the number on the bottle today...

The three ingredients which have been added to the butter from Hokkaido are: sea salt, tomato, and mushroom.

Lobster, courgette flower, shio tomato - slow-cooked homard bleu from Brittany, along with zucchini flower stuffed with lobster and carabinero mousseline. The tomato, dashi (出汁), and shio kombu sauce was pretty nice. Unfortunately the lobster flavors were pretty strong, and somehow this didn't pair well with the Champagne...

Line caught kinki, fideuà - I was really happy to see this tonight, since I only got a tiny little bit of the firefly squid fideuà on my last visit, and I really wanted to see how it would work with broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次).

Well, Agustin must be very concerned about my well-being and felt I should lose some weight, because why else would he send me this bowl with a tiny little portion? I asked Julien to relay my thanks to the kitchen.

Thankfully that was just a joke. I did get a "full" portion, with a piece of fish on top to boot. The kinki was crispy on top but had soooo much fat underneath! It was completely sinful how fatty the fish was! And we've got diced cubes of ham to add to the flavors. Tonight, I was finally satisfied by the portion of this dish, especially when they tried to give us the socarrat.

Salmonete, yellow wine, ganbajun mushroom - the scales of the striped red mullet were left on and were very crispy, and the fish was very tender. We had pretty strong flavors coming from both the ganbajun (乾巴菌) mushrooms as well as some salicornia, as well as the chives and vin jaune in the sauce.

Caldoso rice, espardenya, scallop, parsley - OF COURSE we would have the signature dish of the restaurant, now served up in a big Legle bowl.

Love that we have so many espardenyas tonight, along with Hokkaido scallops. Of course the diced ham with fat really added plenty of flavors. Very homey and satisfying.

Japanese pancake, corn, coconut sorbet - I wanted to complain about false advertising, since the size of the pancake was... pretty tiny. While it was thick and soft, the popcorn espuma on top just dwarfed it.

Finally, we had the mignardises:

Shine muscat - very sweet as one would expect.

Grapefruit curd -

Red currant tart -

Coffee and almond praline -

Matcha biscuit with cherry jam -

What I looked forward to the most, of course, was the lineup of Krug Champagne tonight.

Krug Grande Cuvée, 170éme édition, ID 221030 - nice and toasty, really fragrant and floral, very beautiful and alluring.

2008 Krug, ID 120005 - nicknamed "classic beauty". Pretty perfurmed on the nose but leaner on the palate with sharper acidity.

2004 Krug, ID 218024 - nicknamed "luminous freshness". Definitely got orange notes. Certainly more mature than the 2008, more rounded on the palate. Really elegant and lovely.

2006 Krug Clos du Mesnil, bottle No.7266, ID 319030 - decanted an hour prior to serving. Already a little rounded, pretty open and fragrant, and very elegant.

1988 Krug Collection, bottle No.954 - the nose was soooo alluring. Acidity was very prominent on the palate, but we've got the aged salted plum, straw, sugar cane, and Chinese licorice. Very complex, and beautiful.

Another happy evening here, and that was always going to be the case when it's nothing but Krug in the glass. Many thanks to the team at Andō for the wonderful treat, and of course to PR8 for his thoughtful seating arrangement.

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