November 16, 2022

Mom's HK Michelin tour day 5: Latin evening

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For her third dinner out, and to continue the theme for today - which is "something exotic" - I've decided to take mom to MONO for a taste of Latin America. This would not be something that mom often comes across, and I was pretty confident that many ingredients would be new to her.

I told Ricardo what I wanted for mom, and asked him to create an exotic experience for us. I had no doubt that he would deliver in spades.

Given that there were four of us tonight, we were seated at a table away from the counter. Mauricio and the team took very good care of us, making sure to bring us the special ingredients for each dish and making the introductions.

Purple corn Mexican inflatida / fresh king crab / Taiwanese organic avocado - nice flavors from the purple corn. Didn't manage to distinguish the flavors from the paracress on top...

Loved the crab, could taste a little bit of the burnt avocado purée, but couldn't get much pumpkin. Nevertheless, a very delicious bite to start our meal with.

Japanese amaebi / fresh Ecuadorian cacao / cacao oil - beneath the raw amaebi (甘海老) we have a mélange of different parts of cacao, including a "tartare" of the cacao fruit, foam, cocoa nibs... all infused with banana and passion fruit from Brazil. I thought there might have been a hint of kaffir lime which came with the mucilage. Very nice and fruity which worked well with the raw shrimp.

Since they know Four Sheets can't handle caffeine at this hour, they made her a completely different dish. Very nice and considerate of the kitchen.

Colombian cubio / crema fresca / yuzu - we have a whole mashua that has been cooked similar to a Hasselback potato, with wafers of raw and pickled mashua wedged into the gaps, along with slices of smoked Spanish sardines. Loved how the acidity from the pickled slices worked with the fatty sardines. Yuzu (柚子) and habañero gel just served to accent the dish a little. The crema fresca on the side was infused with oil from the Spanish sardines, which was definitely noticeable while not in-your-face, and the acidity from Sherry vinegar also paired it incredibly well with the sardines.

Oh and I didn't know that nasturtium can grow out of mashua. We've got nasturtium oil in the dish, too. A very tasty and educational dish.

Kristal caviar / Peruvian causa - the mash at the bottom was made from yellow and red potatoes, with Kaviari Kristal in a quenelle on top. Foam on the side was made with aji amarillo and came with acidity as well as some strong flavors. The Kalamata olive purée at the bottom of the potato mash was a little salty and somewhat of a surprise. A dish that packed a powerful punch from a number of ingredients.

Bolivian quinoa sourdough / Eva Aguilera 100% Arbequina olive oil - ah... the quinoa sourdough, from a mother that was now 1,172 days old.

Dad knows mom loves her crust, so he took the crumb and left her with just the crust. Suddenly the song When a Man Loves a Woman popped into my head... NO, NOT MICHAEL-FUCKING-BOLTON. Percy Sledge, dammit!

Imperial langoustine taco / nopal cactus soup - interestingly the tortilla was made with nopal in addition to corn. We've got a crustacean purée as well as some xnipec and nopal ribbons. The star ingredient was a chargrilled langoustine dressed with Mezcal and lobster roe, and topped with coriander cress.

We were advised to take sips of the consommé made with langoustine heads between bites of taco, and there were chunks of nopal in the soup. This was very, very nice. Loved the flavors of the langoustine.

Hokkaido kinki fish / Venezuelan fosforera / New Territories organic pumpkin - the fish was grilled on a hibachi (火鉢), and naturally very, very succulent. Topped with a butternut squash "chutney" which was made of finally shredded pickles that added acidity, as well as pumpkin seeds and sansho leaves (木の芽). The "dot" on the side was a gel of mandarin and dried habañero chipotle. The fosforera was made with clams, the head of the broadbanded thornyhead, and langoustine heads. Pretty nice.

Hubbel pigeon / Mexican hibiscus mole - love Racan pigeon, and this was dry-aged. Unfortunately they forgot that I also have an aversion to beetroot, so they served me the beetroot and hibiscus sauce. The pigeon jus was infused with roselle flower, and came with a roselle flower next to the bird. Such wonderful mix of spices with cumin coming through front and center. Very gamey. Very tasty.

Andean cereals stew - a "porridge" made with amaranth, bomba rice, buckwheat, spelt, matsutake (松茸), and pigeon leg confit. Sofrito foam.

Argentinian mate cocido

Piña colada / Nicaraguan rum - at the bottom there were cubes of pineapple spiced with cinnamon and cloves, along with burnt white chocolate crumble and a pineapple/habañero gel. The coconut sorbet came with a sugar disc sprinkled with shaved lime zest and toasted coconut. Very nice.

For dessert, while mom and dad for the "standard" homemade chocolate dessert, they made me something different as they noted that I am not a fan of rosemary:

Tres leches - buckwheat cake, burnt milk ice cream, fondant milk, milk tuile, chile ancho, and burnt milk powder.

Crunchy buckwheat in the cake at the bottom.

Dulces: Argentinian alfajor - nice and sweet ending to our meal. I noticed the size keeps shrinking over time, but this is just as well. I don't think I have more stomach space for a bigger one.

Dulces: guava gomita - chamoy gummy. Very interesting as it combines spicy, sweet, and sour together.

Mauricio very kindly poured a glass of Krug for Four Sheets and I to start our meal:

Krug Grande Cuvée, 170éme édition, ID 221032 - nice and toasty nose with nice acidity on the palate.

2020 Garzón Albariño Petit Clos Block 27 - not so aromatic, but not bad. A little ripe on the palate now.

Four Sheets and I also received a glass of a lovely Bordeaux red to go with our pigeon:

2012 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion - initially very dusty and chalky, a little unpleasant. Smoky. Unfortunate.

Finally, I got a glass of the amazing 1929 Toro Albalá to finish. It seemed only yesterday that I was drinking this beautiful wine. But wait... it WAS yesterday! When I was at Caprice!

1929 Toro Albalá Don PX Convento Selección, bottled November 2014 - a bit smoky, a little savory, with soy sauce. Sooooo rich, sooo thick and viscous and unctuous, almost like drinking honey. What a beautiful wine!

We had a fantastic time. This was everything I wanted for mom, and the team really delivered. Many thanks for all the extra wines, and I am looking forward to my next lunch...

Michelin stars this meal: 1

Total Michelin stars so far this trip: 8

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