Friday, December 28, 2018

Two in a Row

I haven’t made my way back to Tate Dining Room for years, and not since chef-owner Vicky Lau moved her restaurant to the current location on Hollywood Road in 2016. But when I finally did, I went not once but twice in the same week earlier this month.

So this is my second visit of the restaurant in the week, when Chef Vicky collaborated with Chef Natsuko Shoji from the popular patisserie Fleurs d’été of Tokyo for a 2-night-only special menu at her restaurant and she asked me to come along for a sneak preview during the day. The menu was only available for dinner for 2 nights only, but the restaurant made an exception in hosting us during the day so we could have a taste of what would be served first.

I have not visited Chef Natsuko’s restaurant in Tokyo, but apparently she has gained quite a reputation for her signature cake which is much sought after, and this time, she and Chef Vicky took turns in presenting a few dishes in quick order. We began with a beautifully-plated dish called “Ode to Chinese Yam”, with a couple pieces of poached Chinese yam served with smoked eel, caviar and cauliflower cream. I have never thought of using Chinese yam in a western dish, let alone in fine-dining style, but it worked beautifully, giving the dish an interesting earthy hint, combined with the umami from the caviar and the creamy texture. And of course, all these were done in true Chef Vicky style with elaborate plating.

We then had a few seafood dishes by Chef Natsuko. Uni Tart was a lovely bite with a small piece of brioche served with sea urchin, shaved salted egg yolk and fermented tofu butter. Then it’s another bite-sized dish of smoked saba roll, served with a “Tacos Tostadas-style” sauce on the side. Saba, or mackerel, was a common ingredient in Japanese home cuisine, and this one was served in fusion style, rolled up and deep-fried, with the sauce on the side providing a hint of acidity and topped with more caviar to add on the elegance. Last of the seafood course was amadai, done Uroko-yaki style, with scale on with hot oil poured on to achieve that crispy texture, and it’s done with a rich Matsutake mushroom broth. Not so much a surprise here but well-executed.

I had a different version of Chef Vicky’s signature marinated yellow chicken roulade just a few days ago but I was glad this is the more legit version, with the rice perfectly cooked through and chicken juicy, flavorful, and tender, with rolls of abalone slices in the middle. It’s served in tasting portion which was just perfect, given the amount of courses we had for lunch.

Towards the end of the meal, both chefs came out for a curtain call, and brought us the dessert, the mango cake which is the signature dish at été and have them kept in a glass dome and ready for us to take home with. I had the cake later in the day and it was gorgeous, and I understand why it has become such a popular item in Tokyo.

More photos in my Flickr album:

When? December 6, 2018
Where? Tate Dining Room and Bar
Menu Highlights? Marinated Yellow Chicken with Chicken Risotto, Yuzu and Red Abalone
Champagne Jacquesson “Cuvee No 741” Extra Brut NV
2014 Domaine Alain Voge Saint-Peray “Fleur de Crussol”, Rhone Valley
2002 Domaine A.F. Gros Vosne-Romanee Aux Reas
Tate Dining Room and Bar: