Sunday, November 26, 2017

The New Seasons

The restaurant Seasons at Lee Garden turned a new page recently with Chef Olivier departed (hence his name was dropped from the name of the restaurant) and taking his place is the new head chef Lorenz Hoja whose last stop was in Singapore with L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon there. I normally would wait a few menu iterations to let any new chef settled in before trying their food, but the restaurant’s PR team graciously extend an invitation to me to try some of his new dishes recently, so I guess it doesn’t hurt having a sneak preview.

So I made a short hop from my office for lunch here, with a customized menu based on what's normally served during dinner service. We started with the salmon tartare with a quenelle of caviar imperial, and on the rim of the deep dish were dots of wasabi emulsion. It’s a classic presentation with the fatty salmon chopped extra fine leaving it with a completely smooth texture. The dots of wasabi emulsion were peculiarly green – nonetheless it worked okay but I was hoping that be more punchy to add more to the overall flavor of the dish.

The next dish of egg was beautifully plated. In the middle was the “whole” poached egg topped with piped egg yolk mousseline, with the green mustard sauce underneath. Cutting through the middle of the egg revealed the stuffing of vegetables brunoise inside. So yes, it’s essentially a more sophisticated version of a deviled egg, so to speak. Except the green mustard sauce being a tad bit too strong in acidity for me, I think overall this was very nice – I like that creativity and presentation.

Next was another vegetarian dish of artichoke hearts, gently poached in oil (a la Barigoule) and served with Romanesco sauce and curry foam. The artichokes were only gently seasoned with a mild flavor, and I think the sauce was somewhat unbalanced with the bell pepper sauce overwhelming rich covering the taste of the curry foam. (wondered if it would be better if it’s the other way round, like a creamy curry sauce with the Romanesco foam) But it’s a fun dish to try and I love artichokes for the unique flavor.

One more dish was served before our main course and it’s the grilled Hokkaido scallop with pumpkin coulis and ginger foam. The combination of some creamy sauce with foam and Asian influence seems to be the theme Chef Lorenz is going along in his new menu. I do like this combination and the scallop was well-cooked on the teppanyaki pan. Our entrĂ©e is the bistro-style seared hanger steak served with grilled mushroom and wasabi spinach. The steak and porcini mushroom has a strong smoky flavor, and along with the crust of the seared steak reminded me of a well-cooked Texan beef brisket except it has a more tender texture. And yes by now I finally realized there's some theme of mustard going on with another dish with wasabi. On the side was a small bowl of potato puree – I was expecting the classic Robuchon style with the super buttery flavor, but Chef Lorenz pulled back a notch of the butter and instead having more of the original starchy taste. Something different but I like.

A small scoop of basil sorbet with a baton of meringue and berries was served as palate cleanser before the classic Mont Blanc was brought in as our dessert. We were told the dish was going to be featured in the restaurant’s upcoming holiday menu. I like everything chestnut so this is the perfect dessert to me, with the meringue cup underneath, cassis icecream in the middle and on top, chestnut puree completed with bits of candied chestnuts. I was impressed by the work of the pastry team at the restaurant and glad to know they continued to do well.

So far so good, I would say and I think the team got off to a solid start. I will definitely be back later once they got their feet and sense of direction around the kitchen and the dishes – from what we tasted it’s not going to take too long.

More photos here:

When? November 7 2017
Where? Seasons, Shop 308, 3/F, Lee Gardens Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Roasted Wagyu Hanger Steak, Grilled Mushrooms and Wasabi Spinach

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