Monday, August 2, 2021

Shane x Tatler

For those who have tried Chef Shane Osborn’s food over the years (or at least watched him cooking in the reality TV show The Final Table a few years ago), it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with his consistent, straight-forward but creative cooking. We were at one of his pop-up dinners at Tatler Dining Kitchen early last month, a warm-up event of sort before his third restaurant opens (in September, I think), and once again, enjoyed his food tremendously. 

The lovely venue on top of a car showroom in downtown Central was filled to the capacity on the night of our visit, and I love my seat directly facing the open kitchen where I could see all the actions going on from behind the pass. The 7-course menu gave us a glimpse of what his new restaurant (to be called Moxie) will serve, with much less emphasis on meat (if at all), and rather, focus on seafood, vegetables and other seasonal ingredients. And we were right at the peak of Australian black truffle season at our visit so there’s no surprise a few dishes featured that. 

We started with a simple bite of gougere filled with soft creamed cheese and then a beautifully plated salad of bamboo shoots, Jicama and Chinese celery, both topped with generous amount of black truffles on top, giving both dishes a nice aroma to start. I also loved the Chinese celery in the salad for the subtle herbal flavor, combining well with the crunchy slices of jicama and candied walnut bits. 

The seemingly random combination of summer vegetables (spring peas, radish, celtuce and pea shoots) worked extremely well with the thick slices of sea bass slightly cured in salt. That along with the “spring onion dashi” poured on the side and drizzle of herbal oil gave the dish a refreshing spring-like flavor. The intensity of flavor stepped up with our next course of sweetcorn velouté which is true to its name, and to contrast, stalks of crunchy white asparagus (only the most tender part was used) was quick blanched and placed in the middle of the bowl with sea lettuce wrapped around, and on top, bits of pine nuts and julienned black truffles giving the dish a hint of smoke and rustic flavor. 

We moved on to our first main course, which is octopus, charred on the grill and served with chipotle and fenugreek salsa and charred cauliflower on the side. The octopus and salsa has a nice spicy kick and the charred cauliflower and chopped celtuce were such simple yet delicious sides added for the different textures and contrasting tastes. We moved back to more black truffles in our second main course (not that we are complaining), and this time, it’s the green pea buckwheat risotto with diamonds of green almonds, girolles, Parmesan and black truffle slices on top. This vibrant dish brought me right back to the sense of Piemontese summer with the classic combination and comforting tastes, especially the fresh almonds. 

The dessert reminded me of Chef Shane’s signature Lemon Posset (which he’s been serving in his restaurants for as long as I remembered), but this time, it’s with rhubarb, passionfruit and strawberries, topped with fennel pollen and with a piece of buttery pistachio shortbread on the side. The gripping acidity was just the perfect end to a satisfying meal. Went light on wine this time so passed on the wine-pairing option with multiple glasses – his food style with predominantly plant-based and seafood ingredients definitely geared towards white wine pairing and we went for a Chinese wine from the northwest. Some unripe stonefruits with good acidity and a hint of orange peel and minerals. 

When? July 3 2021
Where? Shane Osborn x Tatler Dining Kitchen, Haus Hong Kong, Shop 38&40, 48 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Charred octopus with Chipotle and Fenugreek salsa, sprouting cauliflower
Drinks? 2017 Puchang Rkatsiteli, Xinjiang, China
Web: (Tatler Dining Kitchen)

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