Looking over the many posts that exist in this blog, it is clear that I do not mind spending money on good food. However, there is a certain threshold where the meal and venue must be really worth it. Yes, we will be taking out a 2nd mortgage to eat at the French Laundry and Per se... But for now, the East meets West Dinner in celebration of the Chinese Restaurants Awards would have to do. Fortunately, I didn't have to pay since it was $500.00 per person otherwise. This meal was a collaboration between Christophe Moret, Samuel Lee Sun, Ken Nakano and Thomas Haas that was held at Market in the Shangri-La.
Presented on an attractive plate, we kicked things off with an amuse bouche of Amberjack Crudo with spicy avocado and puffed rice. Buttery and naturally sweet, the fish was subjected to just the right amount of salt. The smooth avocado was not overly spicy, but I'm sure that was the point. Arriving next was a duo that included Fresh Scallop as well as Geoduck. I found the scallops to be more firm than buttery. The light green pepper sauce was refreshing yet not raw-tasting which was probably aided by the citrusy yuzu. Tender with a rebound chewiness, the geoduck was full-flavoured with a heightened sweetness combined with the slight spice from the Sichuan pepper and shallot oil.
Next up was my favourite dish of night (I know, kind of kills the rest of the blog post) being the Delicate Royale of Sea Urchin topped with Northern Divine Caviar. It goes without saying that the ingredients were appealing even before I dug into it. However, the dish delivered where the uni was buttery and sweet which was balanced quite nicely by the briny caviar. Underneath the foam was a smoked eel custard that really brought it all together with light sweet and savoury notes. From the sea, we moved onto land with the Rabbit Loin with Sweet Breads. Overall, we found the lean rabbit meat to be succulent with some dry spots. Flavours were inherently mild from the celeriac, mushrooms and thyme. The fried sweetbreads were on point being crunchy on the outside and having an oyster-like quality on the inside.
Onto something familiar, we were served Braised Chinese Duck Leg with Chinese herbs and spices. This was unfortunately my least favourite item since it was too familiar. Ultimately, the duck was tender, but a touch stringy. The skin was soft and buttery while the sauce exhibited some 5-spice flavours (not sure if they actually used 5-spice) and soy. Interestingly, I liked the side of soft burdock as well as the date. Continuing with meat, we had the Doe Fillet with black truffles, beetroots and turnips in a agrodolce sauce poivrade. The outside of the doe was slightly dry while the inside was medium-rare and hence tender. The gaminess was minimal while I thought there was a lack of salt. I could get a bit of the sweetness from the agrodulce sauce, but not much acidity. Since the dish wasn't serve piping hot, the truffles failed to activate. I did enjoy the vibrant beets as well as the tender meatball.
Onto the desserts, we were spoiled by Thomas Haas with his 3 offerings beginning with the Carpaccio of Citrus Fruits with cilantro crystals and kalamansi sorbet. Sure, this looked to be a simple dessert and in some ways it was. However, this was refreshing with ripe fruit that was naturally sweet. As expected, the sorbet was a veritable flavour explosion due to the sweet and tart kalamansi. But the real highlight was the Five Textures and Temperatures of Manjari. These included Crispy Wafers, Ice Cream, Mousse, Warm Soft Baked Truffle and Freeze-Dried. Other than the freeze-dried chocolate, I enjoyed everything else including the contrast between cold and hot especially with the ice cream and soft-baked truffle. This was a chocolate-lover's paradise where the flavours were not subjected to too much sugar.
To end things off, we had one more plate of Pâte de Fruits and Chocolates. These were good as expected with impactful fruit flavours (Passionfruit, Vanilla and Cassis) that weren't too sugary. Chocolates were smooth and silky that included Passionfruit, Cassis and Raspberry. Again, loved the fruitiness which helped end the meal on a sweet, but not heavy note. It goes without saying that it was a real treat to be invited to such an expensive collaboration meal featuring 4 accomplished chefs from around the world. I guess I can take the $500.00 and apply it to my next expensive meal...
*All food, wine pairings and gratuities were complimentary*