Sumptuous Weekend Wine Brunch @ Amber Landmark Mandarin Oriental on 4Apr2015

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

wife booked 3pax weekend wine brunch at amber at landmark mandarin oriental on 4.4.2015.^^

amber has 2 michelin stars 6 years in a row & is the no.4 in asia & no.24 in pellegrino’s world’s top 50 restaurants.

this 1 of the places you have to leave credit card details and will be charged in full if you cancel within 48hrs. i am not sure if it is a new practice but we booked 2pax degustation dinner at joel robuchon maybe 4yrs ago & did not have to do that. & we had been to caprice at four seasons, and pierre at the other mandarin oriental and did not have to do that.

anyway we were happy to try out this place, and our faith were more than rewarded. this was simply the best meal we had in hong kong, not comparing joel robuchon’s degus dinner which cost more than twice this lunch.

baguette, olive & onion bread

baguette, olive & onion bread

after a very pleasant morning stroll along the peak circle walk taking in the hong kong skyline, we took a cab form the peak to landmark mandarin oriental which only cost us hk$55.

we started with a nice champagne.

the baguette and olive & onion bread from the bread basket were warm & very good, with both salted & unsalted butter.

6-course weekend wine brunch with 4 paragons of wine (champagne, 2 whites, 1 red)

6-course weekend wine brunch with 4 paragons of wine (champagne, 2 whites, 1 red)

weekend wine brunch was a 6-course (though that included cheese & 2 desserts) with selection of 4 wines at hk$888.

we found out that it was really an excellent deal even c/w weekday set lunches w/o the wine. so it was an excellent decision & wonderful lunch.

 foie gras lollipop

foie gras lollipop

squidink pita

squidink pita

squidink pita

squidink pita

we had 2 amuse bouche. both were good.

the foie gras lollipop in raspberry jelly had beetroot on one side & some crackers? on the other.

the squid ink pita was better, can’t remember maybe it was some cheese, anyway just remembered it was savoury & nice.^^

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig - very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig – very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig - very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig – very good

1st course was served with a riesling which i liked best of the 2 whites & champagne. all were nice anyway.

my son & i picked the foie gras terrine with suckling pig (interleaved) as our first course. it was very good, very flavourful & substantial.

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

wife picked the hokkaido sea urchin in lobster jelly with caviar topped with a gold leaf (which came with a hk$260 supplement). uni was sublime of course but the S$46+ supplement made no sense to us.

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

we all love uni of course, but we are not short of taking them, and we had whole tub of uni in japan for 1500yen (fukuoka recently) & lots of them at kuriya dining for the S$62 chirashi lunch with big serving of uni.

uni is uni. no culinary skill involved, is there?

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

second course was served with another white chardonnay.

for the second course, wife & i had the whole abalone that came with braised oxtail sauce & oxtail!

it was really well done. the abalone was so well braised or sous vide it was pure tender & the oxtail sauce was an excellent match. the 2 pieces of oxtail were also very tender & tasty & robust. wife loved this though for me, i still prefer the chinese or japanese braised abalone in brown sauce, and the chinese dry abalone over the japanese fresh ones.

son decided to venture a bit & took the battered frog legs. i tried a bit. I must say it was very good, enough for me to say that fie the choice of the whole abalone & the frog leg (it was a no brainer before), i am not sure i will automatically pick abalone every time. 🙂

#3 sole with mussels & razor clams

#3 sole with mussels & razor clams

the mains were served with a selection of red. we picked the spanish wine which was very good.

for the 3rd course, wife had the sole with mussels & razor clams. i think it was excellent, the best you could do with a fish. the sole was very tasty, tender and also firm in texture.

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

son & i had the pyrenes lamb shoulder. it was braised to perfection & smoked, very tender & smooth consistency w/o strong gamey taste. it was exquisite for a lamb shoulder.^^

#4 cheese platter - reblochon, comte & camembert (all 3 cheese were good, i like comte best, very tasty)

#4 cheese platter – reblochon, comte & camembert
(all 3 cheese were good, i like comte best, very tasty)

we had 2 plates of the cheese platter above for 3pax. it was lots of cheese. i liked all 3 cheese = reblochon, comte & camembert. i liked comte best, very flavourful almost like blue.

raspberry mousse + chestnut mousse on meringue with pear

chestnut mousse on meringue with pear+blackcurrent sorbet

we didn’t think much of the chestnut mousse on meringue, kind of sweet not accustomed to the taste! any sorbet, blackcurrent or otherwise, was good. 🙂

#6 raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse

#6 raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse

i liked the raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse much better.^^

flat white

flat white

we were served coffee & petite four to round of the lunch.

this was the best meal i had in hk, a very memorable one, and i will definitely come back again with my wife.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Good Mansard Champagne Dinner @ Halia at Raffles Hotel on 2Dec2013

baked oysters in feta cheese gratin

baked oysters in feta cheese gratin

i have this group of friends who are always in the know when it comes to the finest wine dinner in town. 🙂

we got ourselves a table for 10 at the mansard champagne dinner at halia @ raffles hotel on 2.12.2013. halia looked to occupy the previous seah deli space, with a open bar area at the pavilion outside. the acoustic was very poor as 1 of my “expert” friends noticed right away, and we had to “shout” at each other to be heard as the place was full & echoes were flying off all the hard surfaces – walls & glass windows. the din was like fish market – very happening…haha. 🙂

this the second time my wife & i joined the wine dinners. the last one at fordham & grand was one of the best dinners i had. 🙂

mansard champagne dinner menu

mansard champagne dinner menu

i looked at the halia mansard dinner menu & it looked great too. the concept was communal dining so the courses came in platters for sharing for 2pax. i had been to halia @ botanic gardens once, perhaps twice, likely more than 5 years ago. the experience was good, perhaps not compelling. i did remember it served 1 of the best lamb racks then. but halia standard should be fine. 🙂

the oyster gratin was a good, tasty, competent dish. most of us would prefer freshly shucked oysters or sashimi but if you had to have it baked, this was good. 🙂

spicy prawn salad

spicy prawn salad

the spicy prawn salad was 1 of my favourites. very refreshing. love especially the sharp spiciness that added kick to the dish. prawns & salad were fine but nothing special.

pan-fried foie gras risotto with shredded duck leg

pan-fried foie gras risotto with shredded duck leg

the foie gras risotto with apples & duck leg rillette was great too, the duck imparting some flavours to the risotto, which was nicely done al dente. this was perhaps a finer preparation than that served at jamie’s italian & alfresco gusto but taste-wise i preferred the latter 2 which were creamier & more hearty & intense. certainly it was not the best risotto experience i had. 🙂 a few friends did not like the al dente texture. 1 quipped that it was duck porridge..haha. 🙂

palate cleanser sorbet

lime & lemon sorbet palate cleanser

before getting on the main, we had a very nice lime sorbet palate cleanser.

seared yellow fin ahi tuna loin

seared yellow fin ahi tuna loin

the ahi tuna loin was another competent dish (maguro not quite my favourite sashimi as it is plain in taste, not so sweet like hamachi or kajiki or aji). these were very lightly seared. the japanese aburi (torched) sashimi preparation would be better. the capsicum & white beans garnishing were good & complement the fish rather well.  overall i liked the dish though i had better ahi tuna loin in california & aburi maguro in japanese restaurants. the dish did not win many votes among my companions though, 1 was shaking his head. 🙂

sous vide wagyu rump & polenta

sous vide wagyu rump & polenta

next was the sous vide wagyu. i thought it was rump as most restaurants served this cheaper cut braised in course meals & confirmed with the server that it was so. it was strange that after sous vide (slow vacuum low temp cooking) the beef was still slightly tough & not tender enough, something not usually associated with the tender consistency if anaemic colour that sous vide produced. it was still not a bad dish for a rump cut, perhaps fine preparation & kind of average taste. 🙂

white & dark chocolates

white & dark chocolates

the dessert was fabulous, especially the white chocolate. the caramel honeycomb had an interesting & pleasant after taste. some of us thought of it as “terng chan po piah” the vanishing food with a honeycomb wrapped in po piah skin. 🙂

many of my friends, having been schooled in (or just “spoilt” by) many good wine dinners, didn’t think the food was great. it was ok though for my wife & me. i guess everything is relative & depends on the point of reference. perhaps many other wine dinner were better & this would not rank high. but i didn’t see much difference between this (comparing over all the courses) & what one could get at oso, otto, absinthe or forlino at S$88 even w/o the champagne,  so to me dinner was quite good, & especially fun & enjoyable with the company, though the food at fordham & grand i had last was much better. 🙂

& that’s not the end. there was a lucky draw for a magnum (1500ml) champagne. there were 64 diners so we had 10 in 64 chances, & 1 of our friends took home the magnum, with the few among us trying in vain to coax him to let us do the safe-keeping! hahaha. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy