Tuesday, January 21, 2020

First of the Decade

Thought we would treat ourselves to a serious breakfast to kick-start the new year and decade. I have always wanted to try the morning menu at the new Somm at Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Central, so I made a booking to go check it out on January 1.

Was a bit surprised when we found ourselves the only group at the restaurant at 9:30am - guess many opted to sleep in after the new year eve countdown and celebration. They didn't run any special festive breakfast items except offering free-flow champagne as part of the set menu. Their a la carte menu was categorized into Sweet, Savory and Side items, and the breakfast set included one of each, plus champagne, choice of juice and hot beverage.

Not everywhere you would find breakfast service began with amuse-bouche, but the small bowl of plums served as such was delicious and refreshing. I chose banana pancakes to be my sweet course - which came with a single pancake done souffle style with banana slices, toasted pecans, kokuto syrup made with Okinawan dark sugar and yuzu. Plus creme fraiche espuma served on the side. Not the fluffiest one like those made in some Japanese specialist cafes but still airy and soft. Love all the accompaniments with good sweetness except I didn't get much of the yuzu aroma.

I picked Eggs Benedict for my savory course. Two poached Japanese Taiyouran eggs (known for its rich-colored egg yolk) were served on top of two slightly toasted English muffins with shaved black truffles, green asparagus, warm hollandaise sauce and a piece of crispy Bellota ham. Eggs were perfectly done and generous amount of truffles were shaved on top - nothing to complain about. What's described as "Hash Browns" for my choice of side dish was essentially Pommes Pont-Neuf, with potatoes cut into batonnet shape, gently battered with flour and double fried in oil. Perfectly done with crispy crust outside and soft inside.

A wide range of juices were available - other than the usual suspects done fresh one could also go for the bottled ones or a few cold pressed selection. My Japanese Momo (White Peach) juice was just fine. Coffee was on the mild side, brewed by pour over method using Illy beans into a Chemex beaker. The blanc de blancs with dominant citrus on the palate worked just as well to awaken one's soul up with good gripping acidity from start to finish - and there were plenty to go by.

Certainly not an everyday thing when we went for a 3-hour breakfast with free-flow champagne but I would take exception for special occasion like this to toast for the new decade and hopefully for even better things to come.

When? January 1 2019
Where? Somm, Level 7 The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central
Menu Highlights? Somm Poached Taiyouran Eggs on English Muffins with Black Truffle Butter, Green Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce & Crispy Bellota Ham
Drink? R&L Legras Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut
Web: www.mandarinoriental.com.hk/hong-kong/the-landmark/fine-dining/restaurants/sake/somm

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