Saturday, December 1, 2018

Everything with Truffle Flavor

The other day I went for a dinner tasting at yet another new restaurant that popped up inside Harbour City – I am still amazed at the number of new openings happening here on a regular basis. And this time I am even more amazed at the restaurant concept itself, with the whole place focused on the single ingredient of truffles.

Yes, the local media sounds like everybody in town is crazy about truffles of some sort, be it the black truffles that are available all year long (depending on where they are from) or the more sort after white truffles, which came into season at this time every year. But a truffle themed restaurant? I wasn’t 100% sure and so that’s why I wanted to find out more.

The place, called Artisan de la Truffe, originally came from Paris and Hong Kong is their 4th overseas branches, after Germany, Qatar and Japan. The Hong Kong branch took up a spot in the new wing at the Ocean Terminal, with a concept shop, dining area with table and counter seating, plus a small balcony looking over the West Kowloon cultural district. Not shabby at all, and on the day I was there, the restaurant was filled to its capacity.

Four of us went for a few dishes from the a la carte menu and we shared everything. We started with the bread basket and a charcuterie platter with a few types of cold cut and cheeses. Truffle oil – to be exact, extra virgin olive oil with black truffle or white truffle aroma – was available on the tableside for us to try, along with the balsamic vinegar. I am personally not a big fan of truffle oil, but a moderate use of those didn’t hurt, and I thought the soft camembert drizzled with black truffle oil worked pretty well, combining the creamy cheese with the pungent truffle aroma.

A few more appetizers were then served, and this time they were served with truffles shaved at the table-side. We were told that the type of truffles change according to season, and this time it was the Burgundy truffles which are available from late summer to early fall. Both the beef tartare and lobster salad were decent and paired well with the mild truffles. I thought the tagliatelle with cream sauce would have worked better with a richer truffles (like the Perigord black truffles or the Alba white truffles),  but one couldn’t go wrong with this simple and classic combination of ingredients.

They got a predictable, yet good selection of main courses, similar to something you would expect from a “generic” western restaurant except here they were paired with truffles. The black cod fillet was done Mediterranean style, poached then finished on the pan for the crispy skin, then served with a tomato-clam sauce. With or without truffles it’s a well-executed dish. The wagyu sirloin was perfectly cooked too, and I thought a sprinkle of the truffle infused salt (this one with real truffles bits and also available for sale at their concept shop) worked wonder to augment the flavor and aroma of the dish.

Truffles also made their way to the dessert menu, with several options served with a scoop of truffles icecream. We picked a couple to share and I liked the crème brulee most. While many thought ordering truffle dishes are going to break their arms and legs, but this place offered pretty good selection with great value, which will definitely appeal to anyone who wanted truffles on everything all year long. I at least would come back and pick up that jar of truffle salt for my kitchen, and whenever I was craving some something simple yet different than norm.

When? October 31 2018
Where? Artisan de la Truffe, 3rd Floor, Ocean Terminal, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
Menu Highlights? Wagyu Sirloin, Black Garlic, Potato Puree and Truffle Shavings
Drink? Champagne Devaux Cuvee D Brut NV

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