July 20, 2023

3 stars, 3 times the gold

Pin It

Tonight was the second instalment of the Tiggers' culinary tour with me, and we're returning to Ta Vie 旅. Babu's last visit with us was over a year and a half ago, and this would be their first time back since the restaurant was promoted to 3 stars. Expectations were high, but I had no doubt our friends would be happy with their meal.

Sato-san served us the current seasonal tasting menu but made one substitution, which allowed him to add a little bling to my dish...

I was glad to see that the restaurant was now reasonably full, by their standards anyway. They probably can't handle more covers without having more people in the kitchen, and I do hope that Sato-san can get more help in that department.

Nukazuke (糠漬け) bread - now with a new presentation.

Homemade butter and ricotta

Marinated eggplant with cured Japanese horse mackerel, topped with French oscietra caviar and feta cheese - this is the "new and improved version" of a dish from 5 years ago. This time around the presentation has been improved and it no longer looks like a schlong...

While we've still got the horse mackerel (鯵) - which are now sliced instead of diced, and served on top of the eggplant instead of being stuffed inside - and the caviar on top, there is also diced tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, croûtons... etc. as it is meant to be inspired by a Greek salad. Love the refreshing flavors, especially the acidity coming from the tomatoes, and also the fragrant herbs. This was absolutely an upgrade from 5 years ago.

House made fresh pasta with "aonori" sauce topped with premium Hokkaido uni - this dish, however, remains unchanged over the years... but it doesn't need to be.

I still love the umami of the seawater sea urchin (海水雲丹) from Rishiri (利尻) and the aonori (青海苔). Easy to see why this remains a crowd favorite, and was featured as one of the dishes in the "Ta Vie's Classics" menu a few months ago.

Pain de rustique - absolutely amazingly thin and crispy crust. Also love the moist and slightly sticky crumb.

Grilled "miru" geoduck and broccolini salad, with zucchini terrine - geoduck is not something I would normally order, but I do have to admit that they do a very good job with it. The sweetness is always there, and it works really well with the lemon juice, olive oil, and tarragon that the broccolini was tossed in. We've also got a pressed terrine of zucchini which had been cooked in geoduck juice, with little bits of green olive tapenade on the side.

Both Babu and Mama Bear were big fans of the dish. Sure, they've got good geoduck in Canada, but I'm pretty sure they're not done this way...

Crab and corn: Hokkaido kegani crab and Japanese sweet corn, cajun butter sauce - very happy to have this pretty dish again. I love corn, and Babu was really happy with this, too. The kadaif on top once again added some crunchy texture into the mix.

I still love the "crab dumpling" inside the corn, although I do wish the Cajun sauce came with just a liiiiittle more spice.

Pain de campagne - the last of the trio, but by now I was feeling defeated and was having difficulty finishing this. No such problem for Mama Bear, who inhaled every piece of bread laid in front of her... then proceeded to grab extra bits from around the table...

When the next course was served, Sato-san carried the Champagne and oyster sauce separately in covered oyster shells. I knew something was up when Takano-san had to point to the "correct" shell for me... which turned out to have gold foil added on top.

Poached oyster stuffed with oscietra caviar, Japanese white asparagus, served with Champagne and oyster sauce - this was, perhaps, a new version of this "soft shell oyster" from a few years ago.

Lifting up the thin wafers of Japanese white asparagus reveals that the oyster from Akkeshi (厚岸) has been stuffed with oscietra caviar.

The Champagne sauce had the acidity, along with creaminess, to work with the mineral, briny flavors of the oyster - as well as the salt from the caviar. A very well-balanced dish, I thought.

Roasted "free range" Bresse quail, stuffed with porcini risotto, with fresh Yunnan porcini and chestnuts - this was, apparently, the first time that quail has made an appearance here at Ta Vie 旅. The chestnuts, porcini, and hazelnuts on the side were all very, very tasty.

I looove quail, and stuffing it with porcini-flavored risotto makes it even better. So, sooooo happy.

Roselle tea - I have always loved this drink as the fragrance from orange just makes it so alluring. Apparently Babu is a fan, too... as she had about 7 refills or something...

Peach compote topped with peach resin crystal, fresh mangosteen and coconuts yogurt sorbet, covered with crysal peach - another one of Sato-san's creations where we are required to break the very thin dome of candy shell on top...

...only to reveal more gold foil for me! Love the different variations of peach, along with coconut sorbet and mangosteen. So refreshing. Haven't seen this for 5 years.

Chocolate crêpe soufflé, served with banana-jasmine-merengue ice cream, with fermented rice jam - same dessert as 2 months ago. Love the combination of chocolate and banana.

Simple Kaffa Tano Batak Mandheling - from around Lake Toba in Sumatra. Definitely a darker roast.

Chocolate pudding - my favorite petit four, and Mama Bear's eyes opened real wide after her first spoonful. I really don't think I can find a better chocolate pudding anywhere, as that kaffir lime leaf fragrance is just so amazing.

Well... Sato-san added some gold for me again. This makes 3 different items tonight that came with gold foil, which I think is the right amount. After all... no gold no life!

We took it easy with just two bottles tonight, one of which has been in my collection for more than 20 years.

2019 Serge Dagueneau La Léontine - good acidity, with lemon and some flint on the nose, a little toasty. Some ripeness on the nose with fragrant, almost floral notes.

1993 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - drank after a little over 1 hour in the decanter. Very fragrant nose with ripe fruits, lots of plum, cassis, a little smoke, and some grilled meats. After more than 1½ hours this was really fragrant and beautiful. Purchased at the winery in 2000.

We were all very, very happy with the meal tonight, and I really enjoyed seeing the smiles on the faces around the table. Also happy to see the restaurant being busier. Honestly, I don't know why people waited to come until after they've gotten their third star...

1 comment:

Markus Schmidt said...

thanks for your review - informative and entertaining as always. From your comments one might deduce that the restaurant isn't that difficult to book - is that true?. It is definitely on my bucket list for December, but was told by the reservations team to wait until October........ and any tips for booking sushi Haré?


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map