Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dinner with Unexpected Guests

Only when I checked my blog archive did I realize it's been almost 4 months since we had a wonderful dinner at Seasons in Causeway Bay last time - it certainly felt like yesterday, or at least not that long ago. Given the last experience we had it would be hard to say no when they invited us back for a tasting of their new summer menu recently.

I felt like we got the VIP treatment from the get-go when I was led to the private room near the entrance, where the long table has been set up for the group of us. Despite I thought the d├ęcor of the room was a bit "cold", with walls painted in dark grey with wall paintings hanging plus the wooden table with faux leather top, I didn’t mind the privacy – or wait, was this a subtle hint that we were too rowdy last time? Were we?

The menu we were having was based on the summer tasting menu prepared by Chef Olivier's team, available during dinner service. Some seasonal ingredients were utilized, and I love the rich yet refreshing flavors presented in many dishes, which seemed to work well under the tropical weather of extreme heat and humidity.

We began with a couple pieces of freshly shucked Geay oyster served with diced cucumbers and lemon-vodka granita on top. While the frozen granita did give me a bit of brain freeze as I slurped, I loved the kick of vodka without being overly citrusy along with the clean, oceanic oyster taste. The second course was a beautiful dish - in the bowl was tomato jelly paired with the airy ricotta cheese espuma, and on the side, a filo pastry "pizza" with dried iberico ballota ham. I personally prefer a sweeter espuma to go with the tart tomato taste (say, mascarpone?) but it's a perfect summer dish strong flavors and contrasting textures.

Out of the dishes we tried that evening, I liked our next course of lobster dish most. It was poached with hazelnut butter making it slightly smoky and the foie gras, both as sauce and mini bloc of terrine matching well with its richness. That plus the earthy girolles added to the overall harmonious taste. (well I could say the lobster was a tad bit overcooked but I still loved the dish a lot)

Our main course was two pieces of lamb chop served boned in - while they were perfectly roasted with excellent texture, I thought the meat was too mild, not with the gamey flavor I expected from the lamb. And what was listed as gnocchi on the side looked more like potato dumplings instead, but I like the summer truffle aroma with the pieces of artichokes in between.

The dessert was beautifully plated, with lychee jelly sit wobbling in a deep dish, and inside, thin round slices of peach carpaccio overlapped in circle. On top was a small quenelle of blood orange sorbet and some crumbs and meringues for a variation of textures. It's super sweet but not filling at all, and I finished mine in no time. I thought both wines we had were excellent too – the champagne, a blanc de blancs, was full-bodied with a mouth-watering citrusy nose and brioche-like on the palate, followed by a bottle of Burgundy red. After the initial petroleum nose going away with some time swirling in the glass, the wine opened up nicely with a full bouquet hitting right at you and plenty of ripe red fruits on the palate, a hint of spices (cardamom?), rounded tannins, and a long and pleasant finish. Wonderful despite the relatively young age and felt like I kept wanting for more…

Throughout the meal we were "slightly" distracted by the intrusion of some "unexpected guests" - well, I meant most of us at the table were in the middle of the "Pokemon Go" craze so we were busy collecting Pokemons often showing up around us. I am sure the restaurant was relieved that they seated us in the private room. Ha ha. I couldn't recall any fine-dining meal being so much fun.

(Dinner was by invitation and more pictures available in my Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157671671830575)

When? July 26 2016
Where? Seasons by Olivier Elzer, Shop 308, 3/F, Lee Gardens Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Hazelnut Butter Lobster, Girolles and Apricot Fricassee around Foie Gras Sauce
Drinks?
Champagne Paul Goerg, Brut Blanc de Blancs NV
2012 Maison Roche de Bellene Corton Grand Cru
Web: www.seasonsbyolivier.com


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