February 22, 2024

Eight is (more than) enough

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As Uwe would occasionally, subtly remind me, it has been too long since I've been to see him at Restaurant Petrus. Over a year, in fact, since my last visit. Fortunately I know of a worse offender when it comes to this, which is how the Great One came to be my lunch date today.

I messaged Uwe and pleaded with him not to kill me, although I did give him permission to kill the Great One. We ended up with eight courses - not counting the amuses bouches and the petits fours - but in reality it's much more than that!

It would feel strange if a meal with Uwe didn't start with some Krug...

Krug Grande Cuvée, 171ème Édition, ID 122014 - the nose had plenty of toast, as expected. Once again the acidity was on the high side, which was the same as the last time I tasted this vintage.

Then we started with a trio of bites:

Hamachi tart - the flavors of young yellowtail (ハマチ) certainly took center stage as the caviar played a supporting role, which was as it should be. The scent and acidity from yuzu (柚子) was also notable, which was a nice touch.

Champagne cork - that would be the shape of the cork before it got shoved into the Champagne bottle, then... Anyway, the gougère filled with Comté cream was definitely tasty.

Celeriac millefeuille with truffle - I don't always go gaga at the sight of truffles, but damn! This was nice.

We always tell ourselves not to eat bread when we know the chef is sending a ton of food our way, but we always fail. At least I only took one piece... unlike my dining companion.

Today we have some mushroom butter in addition to the salted butter.

Mackerel : cucumber / onion / Parmesan - the mackerel from Fukuoka was fine, but the surprise was everything else that came with it. The onion panna cotta at the bottom was nice and light, while the cucumber gel directly above and pickle jam brought along some fruity acidity that integrated well with the panna cotta. We also had a little bit of citrus as a highlight, which was a lovely touch. A mix of burnt onions and puffed rice added a little texture on top of it all. The courgette roll on the side was put together with some marscapone, and the dish was finished with some Parmesan foam. Pretty nice.

Caviar : Maison Kaviari / initial egg / cauliflower - the "initial egg" is one which was laid by a hen who was laying eggs for the first time. This one came deep-fried with a thin layer of batter outside, served in a pool of cauliflower foam punctuated with pickled cauliflower.

Then Uwe put the finishing touches with a generous amount of Kaviari Kristal caviar. The good thing was that the foam came with a good amount of acidity, which helped to both cut down on its richness as well as balancing the salinity of the caviar. This "egg on egg" dish was very enjoyable.

Scallop : Scotland / Jerusalem artichoke / Vin Jaune - the big scallop from the Isle of Mull in Scotland came pan-fried with a sauce made with sunchokes and vin jaune, and I gotta say I really, really loved that sauce! Just about the perfect balance between the acidity and richness. The chunks of sunchoke added some cruncy texture to the mix.

Wa brought along these langoustines from Uwe's long-time supplier, and they're still moving... so per tradition I named them - Ingmar, Astrid, and Lars.

Langoustine : Norway / flowers / kumquat - the wonderful shellfish came topped with some puffed rice and a load of pretty, colorful flowers and micro greens, and we were asked to use our hands to dip it in the langoustine sauce. Wonderful execution with the perfect doneness. Also had a little wedge of kumquat from Yunnan where the pulp was replaced by a mousse.

Morel : Yunnan / beef / garlic leaf - the morel from Yunnan Province (雲南省) came with delicious garden peas "from Europe", as well as pasta that was shaped like a leaf and made with garlic leaves. Sadly the pasta didn't taste much like garlic leaves, or it would have been fantastic.

[Using my Luke Skywalker voice] "Look at the size of that thing!" I had to put a dinner fork next to the morel to have a proper gauge of its size. Since Uwe also spooned some white foam around it, I chose to make an inappropriate joke about BB(x)...

The plump shroom was stuffed with shredded beef cheek, which was so tender, so rich, and left us with collagen on our lips. Of course, that truffled beef jus didn't hurt, either. This was so, so satisfying!

We were presented with a duck. French, of course.

Duck : France / dry aged / plum - served with a lavender sauce and some Albuféra foam. The duck was pretty tasty, thanks to the fat from its skin.

The cabbage ball came with some moist, shredded meat from the duck leg.

The croquette, however, was a lot more dry inside.

Lamb : French / artichoke / jus - very tender lamb. Nice with a duxelles of sorts made with artichokes and pistachios.

Then came a tablefull of desserts. Uwe definitely looks like he graduated from the Pierre Gagnaire school of desserts, putting out a whole spread of sweets that could be an entire meal themselves.

Souffle : chocolate / rum / raisins - the combination of rum raisin ice cream with chocolate soufflé, topped with rum raisin cream and shaved chocolate, was pretty damn good.

Banana : Whisky wood / chocolate / caramel - the ice cream was made with milk which had the flavors of a Jack Daniels barrel infused, while amazingly, the caramel was made from banana peel. The end result, though, was absolutely joyous.

New Potaotes: coffee / white chocolate / soil - this wouldn't be the first time we see "potatoes" in a dessert from Uwe.

Plated with the "soil" this becomes a deconstructed tiramisu.

Chestnut : tart / mandarin / meringue - the little chestnuts were made with chocolate shell with ice cream inside, and served with a chestnut tart with Japanesse mikan (蜜柑) topped with meringue.

Finally, some petits fours:

Almond orange cake

Hazelnut chocolate tart

The Great One and I survived, but barely. This was a ridiculously long lunch with entirely too much food, but as Uwe said to the Great One, he only gets one chance with her every three years (not true!) so...

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