Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cepage - An evening without football

I thought I should be more excited than I am now with the World Cup well underway and our South Africa grand trip's just slightly more than a week away, but the England performance last week against the meanly Algeria has dented any of the remaining enthusiasm and hope that I had. Now I am seriously considering defecting and adopting a new team - at least for the rest of the tournament.

Anyway, we did manage to get out of the couch one evening to try out this Michelin-starred restaurant near Star Street with our friends k and p. Taking up the site formally occupied by another fine dining wannabe restaurant, Cepage, as the restaurant is now called, represented the first entry into Hong Kong's dining scene by the Singaporean's highly successful Les Amis Group. Since its opening a year ago, it has gathered quite a number of awards in its own right (among which, the first Michelin star and being ranked as the world's Top 100 Restaurant)

We were the first to arrive for the evening and soon the remaining tables in the lush and cozy dining room were filled. As we were surveying the menu, the manager brought us a couple hors d'oeuvres to start off. A nice touch, I reckon. After much deliberation, we opted for the Table d'Hote which essentially is a 4-course tasting menu comprised of some of their signature dishes.

As the restaurant boasted itself as having the most extensive wine collection in town - including some of the rare finds, I found it surprisingly one-sided. Sure they did have a fair share of selection from Bordeaux and Burgundy, but for anywhere else, it's close to nothing. At least their mark-up was reasonable, if you didn't count the fact that the sommelier tried hard to recommend to you their most expensive wines on the menu (when we asked for suggestions for a easy and ready to drink Rhone Valley wine, he gave us a Hermitage La Chapelle. Go figure!)

The food's decent in general and consistent with restaurants of similar caliber. My favorite dishes included foie gras icecream with rhubarb, and egg confit with asparagus, truffles and ham. The chef managed to strike a balance between being traditional and adventurous so there's a sense of harmony as our dinner progressed. We were surprised to have been offered more choices for petit fours than cheeses - that's a bit disappointing. Service's a bit aloof to my liking but I can't find much fault in particular either. The egg confit was originally not on our menu, but the manager gave us a tasting portion to try after we asked about the dish - we certainly appreciate the nice gesture and turned out that's one of my favorite dishes of the night.

All in all it's a comfortable evening just to be away from being a couch potato momentarily and enjoyed good food and company - and as we depart, I realized I didn't even check scores on my iphone for once. Oh I am so proud of myself about that - at least I know I am not totally addicted to football, yet.

details:
when? June 19 2010
where? Cépage, 23 Wing Fung Street, Wanchai
menu highlights? "Taiyouran" Organic Egg Confit, Green Asparagus, Summer Truffle, Joselito ham "Gran Reserve"
drinks? Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape Pignan Reserve 2004

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