Friday, August 25, 2017

Impromptu Date Night

I felt Hong Kong has been cursed with a long streak of terrible weather lately (either unbearable heat or non-stop rain and thunderstorm), but when the sky briefly cleared up this week, we managed to enjoy the breath-taking view from our table at The French Window one weeknight for an impromptu date of sort, courtesy of the restaurant PR who invited us over for a tasting of their new menu by their new chef Simon Kealy.

With my last visit here being a work function, it is certainly much better this time in terms of ambiance  (and company and my mood). What we tried in the evening was their Tasting Menu, which was part of their dinner offerings along with the regular a la carte menu. It’s a 6-course menu plus the wine pairings with 4 glasses to go with the dishes.

It’s probably not the most creative tasting menu I have tried, but all the dishes were likeable and well-executed. The amuse bouche of a macaron with goat cheese filling was fun to eat – I never expected this combination of the sweet macaron and the pungent goat cheese would work that well! I love the first course of pork – with a rillette-like texture of the pressed pork served on top of a thick brioche toast with sauternes jelly, carrot ribbons and bits of pork “popcorns”. The cooking was in rustic French country style yet the presentation was refined (my only complaint was the pork crackling popcorn was slightly soggy)

The third course was described as “Squid”, but the real star was actually the scallop, which came with very decent-sized and perfectly seared. Underneath was finely diced squid, cooked sous vide and served like a risotto dish, along with cauliflower puree, squid ink crisp and a dollop of caviar. It was an elegant middle course, leading the way to our main course of duck. Once again, it’s prepared in rustic style with a fanciful presentation, with Bresse duck breast with charred romaine lettuce, shallots and broad beans on the side and served with a meat jus reduction and a long "spring roll" of duck rillettes. I love the piece of duck breast cooked medium rare with the pinkish, super tender meat.

The pre-dessert of the frozen “gin-and-tonic” and our strawberry dessert with strawberry semifredo with freeze-dried strawberry powder, milk jelly and bits of pistachio were straight forward and appropriate for this weather. The wine pairing choices walked along a very safe line with mainstream varietals. I do like the Alsace Pinot Blanc with just the right minerality to go with the scallops and squid risotto.

For a brasserie meal, this is definitely above the mark, with delightful dishes, great view and ambiance to show forth. Good for an impromptu date night without having to travel a distance or put a lot of thoughts in.

When? July 27 2017
Where? The French Window, 3101, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Bresse duck breast, gem, broad beans, beetroot, duck cannelloni
2015 Chateau Crabitey Blanc, Graves
2012 Remoissenet P&F Renommee Bourgogne Rouge
2015 Josmeyer "Mise du Printemps" Pinot Blanc, Alsace
2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro

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