My culinary lucky star, after following me to Singapore and shining on my meals there, returned back to Hong Kong with me this week. After performing its magic on 'Tasting Court' and ' Ming Court', creating a couple of extremely good and memorable Chinese meals. Tonight, it was to shine on a French candidate!
Learning that the acclaimed, up and rising Parisian 2* chef, Akrame Benallal, will be in town to check on his 1* Hong Kong offshoot and for a limited time, cook for some fortunate patrons. My good friend of 40+ years invited myself, my wife plus his cousin ( who also happened to my bestman and good friends since my days in London ) to try out the cuisine of this famous chef at his eponymous, monochrome, contemporary Wan Chai restaurant.
Since all of us are past our 'eating' prime, we decided to opt for a less challenging 4 course tasting menu rather than to go for the more formidable 6 or 8 course version. With the amuse bouche, the delicious warm and crusty bread and a dessert course that turned out to comprise of 3 separate different dishes, the quantity of food ingested turned out to be quite substantial and we all agreed we had made the right decision.
As for the meal, the plating were all simple but artfully presented. The food was delicious, not overly pretentious and incorporating some very interesting preparation methods. Casing point: beef tenderloin, house cured and dried in organic virgin coconut butter before cooking and pigeon baked in cocoa beans.
Though the chef's forte and emphasis is on seafood, however, we found the stars of tonight's meal were both the meat dishes. In particular, the beef was ultra tender, well seasoned and mouth-watering delicious.
Chef Benallal came out twice from his kitchen to socialize, chat and took group photos with us. Guess his PR skill is as good as his cooking skill! Ha!
Black Cuttlefish Biscuit/Smoked Eel
Dauphine Potato/Whole Grain Mustard/Smoked Beef ( this is gooood! )
Soft Boiled Egg/Mushroom/Pecan Nuts - Slightly bland. A sprinkle of sea salt did magic to it.
Sea Bream/Turnip/Saffron/Black Rice Risotto
Interesting way of drying beef - encased in Extra Virgin Coconut Butter
Beef Tenderloin/Bl;ack Potatoes/Cocoa Butter - Aromatic, tasty and perfectly cooked meat!
Pigeon baked in Cocoa Beans
Trio of desserts:
Mango/Pistachio Cream/Coconut Icecream
Milk Chocolate Custard/Tonka Milk Mousse
Black Chocolate Tube/Tarragon Ice Cream
The dark chocolate inside the silver wrapper was yummy!!
Chef's creation on paper before materializing in kitchen