Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Cristal Room by Anne-Sophie Pic

Combining the view to die for on top of Gloucester Tower with the most glamorous décor filled with Baccarat pieces scattered inside the open dining area was The Cristal Room by Anne-Sophie Pic, the newest (and arguably the hottest) restaurant in town sitting inside the Forty Five restaurant complex. Also remarkable was the open kitchen which sit right next to the dining room with no boundary in between, giving a home-like atmosphere to the otherwise elegant, almost condescending space.

I was there recently and checked out their seasonal tasting menu. I ate at Chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s restaurant before (in London a few years ago) and the cooking style at her new Hong Kong outpost followed the same traits of style, classic French cooking with a feminine touch (lighter texture) and bold flavor combination, finely executed by the team headed by Chef Marc Mantovani, who spent almost a decade’s time in “mother ship” of Maison Pic in Valence, France before moving far east.  

We dived right into a trio of creative dishes in the Amuse Bouche course – I love the strong flavor of squid cracker and squid “tagliatelle” and black garlic mayo and Thai basil, and also the cute sweetcorn “tartlet” served in the traditional Pie Tee shell for a touch of Peranakan inspiration. Bread was served piping hot with nice crispy crust and I like the whipped pepper butter served on the side and styled like a flower. 

The soft, airy mousse of Hokkaido Uni was served underneath the skin milk-skin crisp and on a bed of whisky (Nikka Coffey Whisky) and Chanteclerc apple jelly and nasturtium sauce and I liked the acidity balance and texture for this one. The signature Berlingots dish this time was done with 24 month-aged Comte and braised onions, and on top, generous shavings of French winter truffles for a nice combination of umami, sweet and earthy flavors from all the ingredients combined. The piece of Brittany Blue Lobster was perfectly done, slow-cooked over fir and rosemary infused embers coral berre blanc for the rich and aromatic flavor. 

The duck main course was very enjoyable with the pieces of Challans duck breast tender and perfectly done with nice crisped skin and cut slightly thicker than usual, served with meat jus and goji berries chutney. On the side was the simple butternut squash tartlet. The contrast of the smoky flavor of the duck (from the cooking and also coffee and eucalyptus marinate) and the sweetness from the chutney and mashed butternut squash filling in the tartlet was done very well. 

Moving on to the sweeter courses, first it was the St Marcellin cheese mochi with smoked vanilla with the punchy flavor and interesting texture, followed by the “Le Millefeuille Blanc” featuring a white bloc vanilla and jasmine jelly sandwiched between thin slices of puff pastry with soft cloud-like Voatsiperifery pepper espuma on the side (beautifully presented but I was looking for a more complex flavor profile). I love all the petit fours bites presented, including the rice pudding tartlet with geranium and genmaicha, chocolate tartlet with hojicha, and the cute calamansi lollipop and Macken pepper. 

Either non-alcohol and wine pairing was offered to go with the Tasting Menu, and I asked for a combination. The bottle of still white from Champagne made using the classic Champagne varietals was an interesting one, offering the same level of complexity as the Hokkaido uni dish; the hand-brewed Geisha coffee off Chemex was great with the duck course, and I also liked the Solvenia orange wine that they picked to with the Brittany blue lobster - clean and crisp with some ripe stone fruits and plenty of minerals. I finished with a glass of Oolong clarification infused with Tonka bean, served in a Barccarat crystal coupe, of course.  

Here's more photos:

When? February 19 2024
Where? The Cristal Room by Anne Sophie Pic, Forty-Five, Level 45 Gloucester Tower, Central
Menu Highlights? Challans duck marinated with Eucalyptus and Coffee, Butternut Squash Tartlet, Goji Berries Chutney
2019 Champagne Clandestin "Les Revers" Brut Nature (Disgorged Oct 2021)
2020 Bonnet-Ponson "Griblanc" Coteaux Champenois 
2018 DOmaine du Clos Naudin Vougray Demi-Sec
2021 Movia Sivi Pinot Ambra, Brda, Slovenia
Chemex Geisha (Finca Castellon beans, Colombia)
Champagne Georges Laval "Garennes" Demi-Sec
Milky Oolong Clarification infused with Tonka Bean Infusion

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