Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Belon Encore

When a local restaurant group in town launched a week-long promotion called “Black Series” in early August, “featuring iconic dishes and signature menus at exception value” in all of its restaurants, we thought we should take advantage of the discount and checked out a few places during that week.

First on our “hit list” was Belon, which we went on the night when we returned from Taipei on an early evening flight. The place was jam-packed when we arrived for our late booking, with more and more people flooded in as the night went on. We came to the restaurant only a few months ago for the “carte blanche” menu created by their chef Daniel, and this time, one could think of that as a “slightly abridged” version of that – we are still talking about a full 6-course menu with some of his iconic dishes prominently featured, just as the promotion has promised.

We had the gougeres to start as our amuse-bouche with the aged Comte filling inside. The piece was somewhat heavy to hold on to, but the pastry was light and puffy with the rich and creamy filling contributed to its weight. And just as we finished that, the bread basket with their house-made sourdough bread arrived, along with butter and a few thin slices of cured Bigorre sausages.  The bread was dense, moist and full of flavor with the crunchy, almost smoky crust.

A pair of seafood dishes arrived next – with the oyster tartare served on its own shell, and then the Shima Aji “Salade Nicoise”, both served in tasting portion. Both were creamy with a touch of acidity, working well with the white table wine of the night, an easy-going one from Pyrenees region.

I don’t remember having the basil scarpinocc in our last outing, but it was stunningly beautiful and delicious. The pasta was wrapped like a candy with the chopped basil filling, then it’s served with dollops of creamy burrata, the sweet fruit tomato in a tomato-based sauce dressed around. The set of ingredients were simple and straight-forward (almost like every Italian pasta dish), but the flavor was rich and perfectly balanced. The creaminess, acidity and sweetness just worked together in harmony and in a fine presentation. We loved the chicken that came later, but I would definitely call the pasta dish the highlight of our evening.

The chicken course was the primary reason we came over – we have been singing praises of Chef Dan’s roast chicken since we had it the last time, and again a few weeks ago when he showed me how it's done at a masterclass. And we were glad that he was generous enough to give us extra portion – partly because he was sure we had no problem finishing the whole bird by ourselves like what we did before. It was to die for, just as we expected, that and the side dish of mashed potatoes with bacon and peas, which we had extra portion of as well.

After the whole bird, it’s a struggle to finish the mille-feuille dessert, plus the extra chocolate tart that was served as well, but we did a fairly good job in almost finishing both. I wish the promotion ran a little longer – we would just hang out here every night if it did even just for the chicken dish alone (and the pasta dish too).

When? August 8 2018
Where? Belon, 41 Elgin Street, Soho, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Basil Scarpionocc with Buratta and Fruit Tomatoes
Champagne Vilmart & Cie, Grande Reserve Premier Cru NV
2014 Domaine Le Bout du Monde "Tam-tam" Vin de France
2015 Domaine Le Bout du Monde "Brave Margot" Vin de France
Web: belonsoho.com

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