Sunday, October 29, 2017

Three-Course Celebration

Still recovering from the long trip which ended just a couple of days before, I was not in particular mood for a lengthy meal to celebrate my own birthday. So I suggested to check out Arcane, a place that I thought it's good enough as a venue for special occasion yet not those 10-course degustation menu kind of place. And most importantly, it's a place that I have never been before (at least for a proper sit-down meal) I honestly don't know why as I have always been a fan of Chef Shane Osborn's cooking.

There's only the option of a la carte dishes on their menu with half a dozen or so choices for starter, main courses and desserts. Not a lot of choices but with good variety of styles, and given their rather tight kitchen and team I figured they can't handle more. And naturally, we picked one dish from each category and make it a 3-course meal for us.

I had an excellent potato gnocchi at their bar just a few weeks back (as part of my Krug Food Tour) so this time I went for the Tortellini instead with roasted salsify, girolle, chestnuts, thin slices of white truffles on top and sweet onion consommé. I couldn't quite get the aroma and taste from the truffles (probably overwhelmed by the smokiness) but the pasta was well-made, and the onion consommé has awesome taste, though I could live with a bigger portion for the price they charge. I only got 4 totellini in my bowl.

I was tempted with the sweetbread dish as main but decided to get the pigeon at the end, a choice that I didn't regret making. The pigeon was done two ways – breast roasted and leg slow-cooked as confit than pan-fried. Underneath was lentils, carrot brunoise and morteau sausage, with chervil root puree on the side and dressed with a port-jus reduction. It was an excellent bistro-style dish with simple presentation and perfect execution. I particularly love the pigeon leg with crispy skin and tender meat with rich flavor. And the dish went well with the wine picked from their menu – medium to full body with some pepper and spices on the nose and jammy red fruit on the palate.

Dessert, to me, was a no-brainer. I love Chef Shane's posset dessert back from the St Betty's days so that’s what I ordered here as well. This signature combination of yuzu and lemon posset with mikan orange, mandarin and yogurt icecream and white chocolate tuile in a small bowl has all the different flavor and texture – sweet, tangy, creamy, firm, soft, crunchy... all came to play beautifully.

The restaurant’s been operating under the radar but Shane’s cooking is as solid as I remembered. Dishes are down-to-earth with no-nonsense execution in a comfortable setting - exactly what I was looking for. I got to remind myself I need to come back more often, with or without any special occasion to celebrate for.

When? October 16 2017
Where? Arcane, 3/F 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Roast Pigeon Breast and Confit Leg with Lentils, Morteau Sausage, Chervil Root and Port Wine Sauce
Drink? 2011 Jean-Louis Chave Selections Saint Joseph "Offerus"

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