Sunday, April 8, 2018

White Asparagus Menu

The day after Easter long weekend seems to be the perfect day for a simple leisurely lunch with the holiday mood still at the back of my mind. Better yet it’s at my favorite hotel coffee shop in town, and for dishes from the new seasonal menu. Even better yet I could spend time catching up with my friend over the meal (with the hotel playing host). Yeah, life’s been good.

Well, I was talking about The Lounge at the Four Seasons Hong Kong and for the new menu featuring the seasonal white asparagus. To be exact, White asparagus from the northern Italian town of Bassano del Grappa. It’s the region’s prized produce available only for a short period of time in early spring. While I was more familiar with the white asparagus coming from France’s Loire Valley or Germany, Chef Andrea of the hotel assured me the Italian ones were way better, especially ones he personally sourced from his home province.

Can’t say our lunch was not sumptuous when we had five courses altogether, beginning with the warm white asparagus salad. A few stalks of the delicate poached white asparagus with the top part served as whole and bottom part cut into brunoise and put underneath. On top it was other seasonal vegetables and herbs – carrots, zucchini and its flowers, dill and basil. The best part was the dots of bergamot syrup drizzled on top, giving the dish the right balancing sweetness. This is like having the whole spring garden on a single plate.

Our next course of Tuna Tartare came from the restaurant’s regular a la carte menu, with hand-chopped raw bluefin tuna mixed with wasabi and drizzle of shikuwasa juice and olive oil then served with mustard leaves, slices of mango, sea grapes, tuna heart and shikuwasa zest giving the dish an enticing aroma when it was brought to our table. (Shikuwasa is a citrus fruit native in Okinawa with green skin and sharp acidity, similar to Sudachi I guess but bigger) It’s an appealing dish especially in the warmer days with the touch of citrus acidity.

Another aromatic dish soon arrived – this time the ravioli with goat cheese filling, served with langoustine, broad beans puree, kefir lime, mint, wild garlic juice and of course, chunks of white asparagus. Felt it’s traditional Italian infused with an Asian touch with the aromatic kaffir lime. The langoustine was cooked just done and along with the clean white asparagus taste, worked in harmony with the strong goat cheese filling and the green puree made with broad beans.

I thought we were done with savory courses and moved to dessert when more silverware placed on our table and our next course introduced. It’s the perfectly-seared wagyu with sausage-stuffed morel and white asparagus. The overall taste was rich but not to the point of overwhelming the flavor of that from the white asparagus – I reckon this is a good combination as well with the right portion of different ingredients contributed to this beautifully presented dish.

The final course of dessert was the daily special recommended by their pastry chef Ringo. It’s a colorful dish of pineapples done three ways – with the thick slice of pineapples poached in its own juice served on a bed of pineapple syrup and topped with thin slices of crispy dehydrated pineapples in red and yellow color, garnished by mint leaves. It’s pineapple lover’s heaven and again, a perfect tropical dessert as we prepared for the warmer season.

I wasn’t sure whether such relaxed lunch helped to get over the holiday mood or let it linger on. Not that it really matters to me, as long as great food was on the table.

When? April 3 2018
Where? The Lounge at Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Warm White Asparagus Salad

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