Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mandarin Grill - Food Fun Seriously

I can't remember when was the last time when I laughed when a plate was laid before me.

Amidst the wood-dark dining room, starched white table cloths and suits clinking champagne, I laughed at the plate that was placed before me. In front of me was a duck foot. Not like the feet that you find in a Cantonese soup but a foot, a man-made foie gras duck foot. A duck foot made from a duck liver that isn't really a foot but duck. Tongue in cheek, funny. Heehee. Oops, pardon me, suits, I didn’t mean to laugh out loud.

Humour aside, the dish was fantastic. Firstly the foot got my attention, then the waiter started laying these rosy pieces of duck that I imagine was cooked sous vide and then finished off in the pan, cooked right. Nothing crazy in terms of flavor combination but just done really well but it hit the savoury comfort note for me.

But before that ducky dish arrived, there were other telltale signs that this was going to be good. As we were seated and deciding on tasting tours or a la carte, a champagne trolley rolled by and it was closely followed by their much spoken about EVOO trolley. The EVOO trolley I loved. It reminded me of the time we were in Robuchon in Macau when they rolled out the butter trolley that was thoroughly excessive. To me, the trolley speaks volumes in terms of what the restaurant also communicates to me the freedom to find something that suit my palate and a gastronomic education in EVOO with a parallel tasting, and not to mention generous since they do offer oils worth their weight in gold.

The amuse bouche also gave a little insight as to what to expect. Among the cheese puffs, the salmon mousse tart and the basil and parmesan biscuit was placed a small olive tree with spherification of olive jus, very el bulli – pointing in homage to his stagiaire that he did in El Bulli? What was unusual about the olive amuse was the fact that the wait staff point out that the plant is purely for decoration and inedible somehow leaves me to believe that the diners expect something different – ie. An edible tree; sorry folks, not everything on the table is edible and there is no edible paper here.

flower pot

I’ve dined here twice and I adore Chef Uwe’s sense of humour. He likes puns and mimicking nature that I find amusing and also highly skillful. A fake edible strawberry (previous meal), a flower pot made from a myriad of cooked and raw vegetables and a pretty insane rocket, coconut, pumpernickel soil, chocolate black truffles and in this meal - foie gras came in many forms: firstly as a faux mushroom, a foot and then in the most classically luxurious form, in a dish aptly named “millionaire” – a large organic egg cooked table side, then layered with foie gras and topped off with truffle jus and shavings of black truffle. Now, really who doesn’t want to be a millionaire so freaking bad?


Desserts are a pretty sight as well. Their soufflés, rise to the occasion and live up to the excitement that soufflés give us – that those airy delicate towers make it from kitchen to the table whilst we all hold our breath in anticipation and in fear that it might deflate. Their version Oreo was chocolately delicious but probed the waiter refused to divulge the secrets of the espuma and their version of bread and butter was presented as literally bread and butter.

The plates of Chef Uwe Opocensky at the Mandarin Grill are clever and they make me laugh. It is fun dining in a serious room and some seriously good food.

Menu II:

Forest walk - foie gras, truffle, mushroom, leaves

Onion - french, organic, consomme, egg, cheese, gold, tea bag

Mallard Duck - welsh, rhug estate, organic, foie gras, feet, pearl barley, jus a la presse
Lobster - brittany, rose, caviar, beetroot, fennel, lobster oil
Walnut - hazelnut, raspberry, armagnac, snow

photos of the entire meal in Feb2012
photos of entire meal Sep2011

Mandarin Grill & Bar
5 Connaught Road, Central Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 0111

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Blogger Take A Taste said...

Wow, wow, wow! The photos are stunning and the food looks amazing!

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Angeline said...

The flower pot reminds me of the artsy Cherry Blossom (candy floss) from BLU. A truly unique presentation that left serious food prints! Lol...

9:19 PM  
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