Friday, January 1, 2021

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

We decided to host an ad hoc pre-Christmas dinner at our place with just a couple of days to prepare in advance, so we thought it’s a better idea to do a combination of takeaway dishes plus a few simple ones done at home so we have enough food on the table to feed six of us with much less hassle. 

I have always wanted to try the signature roast chicken at Batard, the new bistro in Sai Ying Pun inside a wine shop, but getting a table to eat there was next to impossible (last time I checked the next available table is in April next year). So I went for the best alternative, which is to order the chicken plus a couple other dishes from their new takeaway menu and eat at home instead.

They don’t offer delivery service but it’s just as convenient for us to order by phone a day in advance and drop by their shop to pick up in the evening the day after. I asked them to pack the whole cooked bird in a box rather than having it carved, so I could gently reheat and cut right before it’s served. Their chicken came with a side of Pilaf rice, which I reheated in a separate pan and I chose to serve it separately, unlike at the restaurant where it’s served underneath the carved chicken. 

I must say both were spectacular. The chicken – made using the local breed -  was so rich and flavorful, with the layer of fat right underneath the skin which was roasted to golden color. The skin was still crispy when the chicken arrived home, and more so as I reheated it in oven (190C for 10 minutes). Chef Aven, the new head chef at Batard, was trained at Belon under Chef Dan Calvert previously so I didn’t expect less as far as roast chicken is concerned. While the one at Batard is the simpler version I have to say but by all means just as tasty, in my opinion. The side of Pilaf rice was cooked using the meat jus and oil coming out of the roast chicken, so it took in all the intense flavor. The portion is said to feed 2-4 but it’s more than sufficient for us 6 as one of the main courses. 

We ordered 2 more dishes at Batard – the house-made duck rillette has the consistency of a pulled meat rather than soft and creamy like a terrine. It’s quite heavily seasoned but worked well with the pieces of thin toasts served on the side. The madeleines were perfect when reheated slightly and served warm as dessert pastries. They were soft with good buttery flavor and a hint of citrus. 

Then we decided to supplement with a few more dishes prepared at home. Can’t go wrong with the charcuterie platter with Cured Ham and Chorizo from Bigorre (that we picked up at the French grocery shop LQV), and I also made a quick Tuscan white bean dip with lots of garlic and herbs, just the way I like, to go with the sourdough from Bakehouse. The Caprese salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella was something quick to assemble without much effort, and for mains, I chose to do a seared hanger steak finished with a balsamic demi-glace plus fried potato sides, something that could be done within 30 minutes without much need for preparation in advance. And for desserts, some homemade minced pies (good as always), plus a few other items our friends brought over. Turned out there’s more than enough food that we had to skip cheeses and save that for another day. 

Of course it sucks not being able to eat out at night these days (especially during the Christmas season out of all time!), but the fine-dining takeaway is the silver lining out of all these miseries. And great to have friends over again with a "virtual meetup" over drinks after with more people who couldn't join us in person. We certainly would like to have more of the Batard’s roast chicken at the comfort of our home, at least before we managed to get a table to eat inside the restaurant and were allowed to.  

When? December 16 2020
Where? Kitchen at 17A, with (most of the) food catered from Batard
Menu Highlights? Batard’s Signature Roast Chicken with Pilaf Rice
Drinks? 2016 San Filippo Rosso di Montalcino DOC

No comments :