Saturday, May 2, 2020

Lunch at Ecriture

Last week I finally manged to sit down and check out the dishes created by Chef Maxime Gilbert’s team at his Michelin-starred Ecriture. With my previous visit to the restaurant being a crossover meal with the guest chef from Moscow, I guess I would only count this time as my first.

Couldn’t have asked for a better day to enjoy our meal in the comfort of the private room at the back of the restaurant, with just the four of us in the spacious room and perfect lighting from outside on a sunny afternoon. We began our 6-course customized menu right after the series of fancy amuse bouche bites were served, with the theme being seasonal French produce from around the country.

We started off with a light appetizer – with slices of whelk topped with the light and airy onion espuma and tonka powder. The sweetness from the caramelized onion worked well with the slight umami flavor from the whelk. That’s followed by green asparagus paried with cured john dory with a splash of rich sauce made with fish broth reduction and the curing liquid made with ham. Excellent execution with the acidity and richness of the sauce balanced well with the distinct asparagus flavor, and I love the combination of the textures too with the bouncy slices of john dory and crunchy stalks of asparagus. The shaved bottarga was just the icing on the cake, providing that extra minerality and umami kick.

The Brittany langoustine was presented to us in great fanfare, streamed covered with kombu in a hot casserole and finished with a generous splash of Vin Jaune in front of us to take in that slightly nutty, oxidative flavor and all the aroma. It’s then plated individually with fresh sautéed green peas and a light creamy sauce made with langoustine bouillon infused with liquorice. The langoustine came in nice portion and cooked perfectly well, minimally seasoned with the original sea flavor came out. The herbaceous hint from the liquorice paired nicely with the remaining of the Vin Jaune flavor with well-balanced acidity.

Our main course of Roast chicken was another dish with great presentation – with the whole bird shown to us before it’s carved and plated back in the kitchen. The juiciest piece of chicken breast with the thinnest crispy skin on top, it’s served with a dollop of uni cream, julienned celtuce and chopped morels on the side, plus the jus reduction spooned generous on top. The course was actually served 2 ways, Japanese rice cooked with the chicken carcass in a casserole and topped with chunks of chicken thighs, giblets and more of that jus. I thought it’s delicious and comforting with the rice done just right, slightly firm and took in all the chicken flavor through the cooking process plus the sauce.

A few sweets were presented to conclude our meal with, starting with the lighter lychee sorbet with aloe vera and mint bouillon (more like a palate cleanser) up to their signature chocolate tart, secretly hidden on our table right from the start. The buckwheat dessert was the one I like most, with the nice contrast of the rich chocolate sorbet quenelle and the light and nutty creamy buckwheat mousse underneath. Slightly sweet and full of complexity.

We went with the unusual pairing of BYO sakes. The clean flavor of the Junmai Daiginjo 35 from Osaka’s Daimon Brewery and its rounded feel worked well with langoustine dish. And I like the aroma of the Shizuka Junmai Ginjo – done in lighter style with shorter fermentation – with the roast chicken, especially when served with the rice. That's not to forget the serious Rose champagne we started our afternoon with, a 100% Pinot Meunier beauty with slight acidity and intense notes.

Couldn't find a better way to spend a Friday off from work. 

When? April 24 2020
Where? Ecriture, 26/F H Queens, 80 Queen's Road Central, Central
Menu Highlights? Brittany Langoustine steamed with Vin Jaune, Green Pea, Claw Bouillon infused with Liquorice
Champagne La Closerie "Fac Simile" Extra Brut Rose
(All from Daimon Brewery, Osaka Prefecture)
"Road to Osaka" Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori
Daimon 45 Junmai Daiginjo
Daimon 35 Junmai Daiginjo
Shizuka Junmai Ginjo

No comments :