October 22, 2022

Occupy Amber: stuffed like a chicken

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As is often the case these days, it all started with a picture on social media. I saw a picture of the cross-section of a sausage under development at Amber by Richard Ekkebus, and I sent a reaction to the poster. Chef Terry Ho then sent me a picture of a stuffed chicken neck, complete with the head of the chicken. From that moment I knew I needed to try this dish.

I checked with Richard, and was told that it would be part of a menu called Second Life, featuring dishes which have previously appeared on Amber's menu but which have been "re-worked". It was to be presented in conjunction with the launch of 2004 Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2, and available in October. So I roped in Mr. and Mrs. White T-shirt and booked ourselves in for lunch today.

I knew Richard would be off-site today so I got in touch with Terry about the menu. I was more than happy to just have the Second Life menu, but apparently Terry had other ideas... which would be detrimental to my waistline.

I was very happy to have this vegan butter again. I really loved it when we first tried it on our last visit, as it tastes very much like beurre noisette.

The sourdough bread was the perfect substrate to carry the butter, as the acidity and the richness together made for a great combination.

Foie gras, raspberry and ginger bread Chupa Chup - so classic and nostalgic. I've had it many times but still fun to eat. Always love the fruity acidity working with the fatty liver.

Mushroom panna cotta - with matsutake (松茸) slices on top, along with black truffle in the middle. Definitely with earthy and green flavors.

Yellow tail ° tomatillo ° sorrel ° jalapeño ° colatura di alici ° mono cultivar Frantoio extra virgin olive oil ° - with infusion of apple, cucumber, and jalapeños. The tomatillo slices were really nice, with lovely, fruity flavors and fragrance.

Aka uni ° cauliflower ° lobster ° Imperial Daurenki caviar ° , created in 2016, given a second life in 2019 - well... we all know what this is! The original dish was created much earlier, but disappeared from the menu here after this fateful day. When the dish "re-appeared" the proportions of the key ingredients had changed, and the caviar became much more prominent.

This time, though, I only got the "normal" amount of gold foil on top.

I still see the crispy seaweed waffles as an "afterthought", although I do nibble on it while enjoying the dish.

Hokkaido scallop ° moro kyuri ° cucumber blossom ° yellow yuzu ° shiso ° extra virgin grapeseed oil ° - of course the scallops were hand-dived to conform to the restaurant's sustainability philosophy. And these scallops were simply beautiful, both in terms of flavors as well as texture. Prefect execution delivered a texture that had just the right amount of firmness. The acidity of the sauce, though, was so strong it took me by surprise. We also had plenty of perilla here delivering a wonderful fragrance. A very lovely dish.

Arakabu yaki ° espelette ° bouillabaisse ° extra virgin Manni olive oil 'Per Me`' ° Amalfi lemon ° aromatic summer vegetable ° wonton skin ° bottarga ° - the sea ruffe today was much bigger than the one I had two days ago, and thankfully all the bones had been removed before serving. I do love bouillabaisse so I was pretty happy that it was served this way.

We had a "wonton" in a steamer on the side stuffed with diced organic vegetables such as onions and perhaps kohlrabi, accented with dill. It was suggested that we place the "wonton" in the bouillabaisse, an instruction I dutifully followed.

BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR! ZEE CHICKEN HAS ARRIVED! The head and neck of a Ping Yuen cockerel (平原雞), with the neck full of stuffing.

Ping Yuen cockerel ° white Alba truffle ° silver beet ° porcini wild mushroom ° Albufera ° , created in 2009, given a second life in 2022 - besides the chicken "sausage", we also had steamed chicken breast with a herb crust, porcini, and swiss chard. Albufera sauce and chicken jus on the side. This actually reminds me of a chicken dish I had here more than 9 years ago.

With white truffle shaved on top.

The sausage was made with chicken heart, liver, comb, and trumpet mushrooms. Really, really delicious. I'm a happy camper.

I don't need more beef in my diet, and I haven't been a fan of the Japanese beef that has traditionally been served here. But I knew Terry really wanted us to try this dish, so I reluctantly agreed to have it added to our menu. The beef comes from cattle raised by Arita Livestock Industries (有田牧畜産業) in Miyazaki (宮崎) which follow the "Earth Medicine 0" philosophy of no added medicine, and therefore fits the "sustainability" requirement here.

Arita 'EMO' wagyu ° pepper berry ° black fig ° wagyu beef 'katsuobushi' ° red onion ° black garlic ° aged Shanghai vinegar ° - I gotta admit that this beef wasn't the same soft and fatty type that used to be standard on the menu here. The texture was much more firm, and we've also got some chewy sinews.

The dried wagyu was cured with caper berries.

With shaved cured beef on top. Of course the cured beef was pretty damn salty.

Gariguette tart - the Gariguette strawberries were very fragrant, very fresh and juicy. Four Sheets' dessert since they know she can't handle the caffeine in chocolate.

Conspiracy Dak Lak 90% bitter chocolate ˚ silken tofu ˚ cacao ˚ fermented cacao mucilage ˚ almond ˚ Dak Lak cacao nibs ˚ yuba ˚ , created in 2018, gien a second life in 2022 - we've got non-dairy chocolate "mousse" in the center with cacao nibs praliné. The crisps on top were made of cacao but there were also some made of yuba (湯葉).

Squash ˚ coconut ˚ sea buckthorn ˚ extra virgin pumpkin seed oil ˚ pumpkin seed ˚ - Four Sheets' dessert since the "regular" dessert was also chocolate-based. Pumpkin seed praliné topped with coconut sorbet and coconut mousse, with a pumpkin seed tuille topped with a sea buckthorn sorbet.

Kacincoa 85% ˚ cacao ˚ extra virgin lemon olive oil ˚ cacao nib ˚ Taggiasche olive ˚ - with chocolate and tofu mousse, chocolate ganache, and chocolate sorbet on top. Lemon olive oil caviar on the side.

Our fruits today came from Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The persimmon was very sweet, the grapes were nice, and the pink guava was surprisingly firm in texture but very fragrant.

Buckwheat madeleines - the madeleines today were more moist in the center than usual, but I'm still not a fan of the grainy crust.

Kacinkoa chocolate with almond praline and cocoa nibs

Yuzu Ambershu

I had expected that our lunch would be paired with the Dom, but that did not happen. So on top of the Monty I brought - which was definitely over-ripe and not to Four Sheets' liking - I decided to order a bubbly off the restaurant's wine list.

2002 Fleurot-Larose Montrachet - initially served too cold and the nose was kinda shut. Color was darkish orange, and obviously very ripe. Marmalade with some vanilla on the nose. Much more vanilla about one hour later, and really sweet on the nose after 1½ hours.

Egly-Ouriet Brut Rosé Grand Cru, dégorgée en juillet 2020 - very smooth on the palate, nice and toasty on the nose, with a little bit of yeast.

I was very happy to have scratched the "sausage" off my list, and happy to have been joined by friends to share the experience. But... this was waaaaay too much food. I just might have to add Terry to the list of chefs who try to kill me with food...

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