Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend Indulgence (Part 2) - Oui Private Kitchen


In our mind, there's never too much food, only too little time to enjoy them all. On Sunday, when a friend of ours suggested this private kitchen to celebrate cyy's birthday, of course we found no reasons to turn it down.

Owned by a passionate foodie couple that have a full-time "regular" job Monday to Friday, the place - called Oui - is only open on weekends and for dinner only (provided they didn't get tangled up with their own social commitments on that day) The place where the private kitchen is run is actually their own home and there are no other staff but just 2 of them - husband's the chef, and the wife is the... well sous chef. And it's kinda secretive - try googling for it, or searching on openrice, you will come up empty (trust me - I tried!). For this matter I can't even tell you the address for fear that it will get busted one day thus deprived us the opportunity to return, since their neighbors and landlord don't know what they are running in their home. They purely relied on words of mouth and return business as their marketing channels - a good indication of their quality and consistancy actually, because they have been running just fine for the last few months.

We promptly arrived at 7pm. It's on the third floor of an old apartment building, and the decoration's simple inside - a long table's in the middle of the living room and there are drapes all over the walls - presumably to hide away normal household furniture and stuff. There is also another smaller room that seated a table for two that evening.

Only one menu's available on any given day, and we were provided with the menu beforehand so it can be modified in case there's any food preference or allergy issue. We started off with an amuse bouche of scallop tartar, topped with chives and caviar and served with a tiny piece of toast. A minimalistic dish - in a decent way. It's followed by the lobster and pumpkin bisque which we found equally enjoyable.

However, the salmon rillettes that came after, while colorfully presented, lacks the rich taste I would have expected. I am not quite sure if it's because of the salmon or the way it's cooked, but I reckon using smoked salmon instead, or at least put that into the mixture, would probably have done the trick. We like the fancy presentation of baby asparagus wrapped around the layers of salmon and pear relish - looks like little green fences - but I would personally prefer using thinly-sliced toast instead, thus combining the chef's original idea and the tradition of how rillettes are usually served. The crunchiness of the toast would probably bring an extra dimension to the texture too.

After the palate cleanser of a dollop of star fruit/mint granite served on shot glass, the main dish of quail with porcini risotto came and we all have to agree that it is the highlight of the evening. I always showed special appreciation for something that cannot be easily done at home - and deboning a quail's probably high on that list. Knowing that he has to do all the nitty-gritty preparation work all by himself - unlike a more established restaurant where there are more helping hands - you can imagine how much time he must have spent on making this dish, and the heart and effort spent certainly shows on the excellent taste and presentation. The quail's deboned, stuffed with risotto with porcini and parmesan, and roasted - all bits done to perfection. I also heard good words across the table re the side dish of Gratin Aubergine - too bad eggplant is simply not my cup of tea so I only tasted a tiny bit before gladly passed that to my dinner companions.

By comparison, the dessert seems to have somewhat waned in quality. There aren't many techniques involved in making a red wine-poached pears served with ready-made vanilla icecream, but this one tasted just like pears in simple syrup - the canned type, that is. That's unfortunate, but I am sure this is something that he is capable in improving on.

It's amazing to see Chef Kelvin managed to prepare for us a 4-course dinner from a kitchen not any bigger than ours at home, with just a husband-and-wife team. As a budding private kitchen, Oui certainly excels in its own rights. It's no Caprice obviously - nor did we expect it to be like one - yet we enjoyed our evening no less.

details:
when? May 16 2010
where? oui, somewhere in causeway bay
occasion? CYY's Birthday Dinner - Part 2
menu highlights? Quail stuffed with Porcini Risotto, Gratin Aubergine, with caramel and vinegar sauce
drinks?
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2005
Domaine Benjamin Leroux Savigny-les-Beaune 2007
Pegasus Bay Finale Noble Chardonnay 2004

1 comment :

Bonnie said...

This sounds good. May I ask where this is and how we can contact them?

Thanks
Bonnie

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