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FDE

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  1. Visit at Piazza Duomo, Alba

    This thread deserves an update since Chef Enrico’s cuisine has evolved significantly over the last few years. My recent visit there was much more enjoyable than my first visit six years ago; more sophisticated meal and significant improved service, very friendly with detailed explanations for each course. Here are some highlights: Meringue coated with cocoa and parmesan. Puffy taco with avocado and sesame. A unique looking soup crisp dusted with seaweed powder underneath. Very simple course, but I have never had such an intense bok choi flavour in my mouth before! Slices of rapa salted in miso, then simply served with drops of olive oil and lemon juice. Beautifully presented here was Chef Enrico's version of "Piedmonte omelette", a green sponge cake made of chard with tuna pâté on top. Another eye-pleasing course was his take on a typical Rome artichoke dish where he sous-vide the artichoke and deep fried the skin and the interesting component revealed itself after I destroyed the neatly stacked structure - bone marrow of rabbit! His signature course! A huge bouquet contained 41 vegetables, herbs, and flowers all from his garden, to be eaten with a pair of tweezers. It took me a very long time to finish this course since I tried to taste each item one by one. On top of a colourful painting was a pair of raw scallops. Contrary to what appeared a strong sauce, the cheese was very mild, balanced well with the fruitiness from the umeboshi and without overshadowing the freshness of the scallop! The best part was the toasted sesame, dried seaweed, and a touch of wasabi hidden on the other side of the scallop. Clever! Another signature dish of Chef Enrico serving in Venetian glassware that was made just for this course to resemble a potato. Creamy potato velouté with egg crowded and topped by a very generous amount of white truffle! Roasted lamb with fennel, lamb jus, and a creamy lamb milk sauce at the bottom. Last course, a very innovative dessert using Fruits and Vegetables of the season! Sounded weird to incorporate vegetables but it worked exceptionally well with a great mix of textures while offering a hint of freshness and chestnut sweetness. This was a light but very satisfying dish to end a long meal. I definitely will make another revisit next time when I am back in Alba. Full meal HERE.
  2. Excellent, 2-star now. Very glad! Hope you will enjoy the meal!
  3. Ya, I could probably have a piece of fish, but not the chips:). It is part of the stadium through the back entrance on the 8th floor... I think it is the administration office area of the stadium?! The window from the kitchen does have a view of the football field (or the stage as they often host concerts).
  4. Mark, as I mentioned, above was an extract, the whole meal consisted of 10 amuse bouches at the lounge followed by 8 courses in the dining room. I would be very surprised if you can finish a full plate of fish & chips after the 18 portions of food with bread:) You can check out the full meal here if you want: http://www.finedinin...ic/geranium.php
  5. After reading so much last year about Chef Rasmus Kofoed's challenging journey to achieve Gold in Bocuse d'Or, we finally visited his new location, at the home ground of the Danish national football team! I was so impressed by this meal and since there wasn’t much written about Geranium, I had to start this topic! Rasmus stunned all of us with an elaborate series of ten amuse bouches at the lounge followed by eight courses in the dining room. Below are just some highlights: Carrot & Sea-buckthorn "razor clams" with edible shell Jerusalem artichoke tree & Walnut oil Burnt potato & sheep's milk butter The second course of the menu was a plate of Stones and the manager advised us to eat only the green ones of course! The stone was a cube of salmon coated in dill jello, served with salmon roe and dill sauce. Moist and tasty centre with a nice spark from the salmon roe! I initially thought the mackerel was smoked but it was actually just lightly salted. It was the paper thin layer of ash sandwiched between the mackerel giving out an intense smokiness. Served on a trendy metal plate was Langoustine & Hay aroma. Brilliant texture, nice charcoalness, and just a few tiny pieces of wild herbs on top, that was all it needed. A tea pot of lamb stock and herb with garlic and thyme. Each drop was packed with flavours. Then our server invited us into the kitchen to sit behind his Bocuse d'Or trophies! While being entertained by the close-up actions in the kitchen, they served us one of Rasmus' signature courses - Chervil & White chocolate. Carrot leaf and Green egg Rasmus flawlessly delivered an inspiring meal using regional ingredients with such a high quality beyond my expectation. There is no doubt that this restaurant deserves to be in a different league. If Michelin can give out 2-star to a pub in England that serves average decent food, then this meal we had is probably about... 10 stars?!
  6. Mexico City Dining

    Note that I only had a day in Mexico City this time as I was on my way to Central America. That's why I could visit only two restaurants unfortunately!
  7. Mexico City Dining

    We did spend a week here a few years ago to enjoy the local cuisine and this time was just a quick stopover mainly to visit Pujol, a high-end authentic local restaurant, but managed to squeeze in Biko, a more international menu using local ingredients. Surprisingly, the result turned out to be the opposite of what I had expected - our lunch at Biko was outstanding and the dinner at Pujol wasn't good at all. Below are extracts of the meals: Biko Foie gras 100% cotton candy: The dish was blurred by a cloud of candy floss on top. Our server then poured in pineapple juice, creating a series of sparkling noise coming out from the sparkling candy at the bottom! The foie gras mousse was coated with some tiny crunchy seeds and paired with wedges of pineapple that was dehydrated reducing the acidic juice but leaving the exotic fruit flavour behind. Amazing dish! Duck & soy: It wasn't the sauce that was made with soy sauce; it was this thin paper leaning on the duck! The duck was soft and moist; the soy sauce paper was light with a deep savoury flavour; and the tamarind sauce had a precise balance of sweetness and acidity. I enjoyed this course very much. Completely dusted with hibiscus was a sponge cake soaked in juice of sapodilla, a Mexican fruit. The cake was airy in the centre, but became soft after being soaked in the chilled juice, and sticky with the hibiscus powder, along with the crunchiness from the mixed nuts underneath! This dessert had a fun mix of textures and flavours! Pujol Cool presentation with intense smoke steaming out. Sticking out from the shell were skewers of smoked baby corn covered in coffee mayo. Good but not exceptional. Guacamole tasting with one hard taco. There were three different kinds of guacamole: mashed avocado with yogurt, diced avocado with onion and tomato, and avocado ball dusted with chipotle. It was a great idea to taste three types of guacamoles in three bites, but ordinary on the palate. After a few more average courses like the bland cactus salad, the main course finally showed up after a long wait with a plate of turkey breast but completely covering it with chichilo negro sauce. Do they really need to cover the whole plate with such a concentrated sauce? I really tried to enjoy it but it was a difficult course to like, dominated by the thick, intense, and bitter sauce! Maybe it's authentic, however, this sauce is really difficult to like! In summary, the meal at Biko was outstanding. For Pujol, we probably had our expectation too high, and with the unpleasant main course, poor service throughout the night (couldn’t find my reservation though I confirmed by email the day before; didn’t get my napkin until the 2nd course; my side plate wasn’t clean, the soup spoon wasn’t clean either; extremely rushed service for the first five courses then a long wait for main where the torilla had gone cold), it was simply a bad dining experience. Not going to repeat my experience course by course but you can see it all here if you are interested: http://www.finedinin...World/index.php
  8. IFS, I agree, it has been 3-star for years but there are just too few reports on Jonnie Boer's cuisine. It is a bit a detour from Amsterdam, but I am glad I did manage to make a visit as it turned out to be one of my top 10 restaurants ever! The food seems to be quite different from your experience in 2009; a good reason for a revisit:) There were about 6 or 7 of little surprises before the first course and they were all outstanding! Here are a few highlights: A fermented red cabbage juice surrounded by a spiralling foie gras garnished with hazelnut milk curd, sea crab meat, and black olive gel. Seared shrimps with various seeds and nuts sticking out from the pumpkin mousse. These shrimps were almost raw with a soft and moist texture; having them barely cooked is certainly the best way to enjoy such beauties. We were amazed at the quality of these Dutch produce. And the cheese course was extraordinary! With a fair amount of hesitation, I scooped a spoon full with a bit of everything - the thick chorizo cream, a piece of potato, a slice of rabbit kidney, and one of the liquid balls, and let them all interact in my mouth. First came the explosion of this salty Époisses Burgundy cheese; but it was quickly washed away by the deep chorizo cream; then dominated by the soft potato and the crunchy kidney. Sounded bizarre but we all agreed that it was a brilliant cheese course! Not going to repeat my experience course by course but you can see it all here if you are interested: http://www.finedinin...e/delibrije.php Or a quick video here: We visited Oud Sluis the following day but the experience was disappointing in comparison!
  9. Beijing dining

    Like previous visits, it was short but full, and very full! Li’s Imperial Cuisine We have been to both Family Li in Shanghai and Beijing two years ago, but this restaurant located near the Beijing Capital Airport is where the Grand Chef Ivan Li spends most of his time. It is not the easiest location to get to, but like all the top culinary spots, the journey is part of the experience! In terms of food alone, Li’s Imperial is definitely the highest quality of all Beijing restaurants that we have visited. The Private Room - Park Hyatt Beijing For high-end exclusive Cantonese dining, this is the place. The restaurant spans over 2300 square meters of the entire floor consisting of 16 uniquely designed rooms! The cuttlefish with smoked bacon, the abalone and morel baked rice, and the egg tart topped with redcurrant and chocolate were just some of the highlights. Bai Jia Da Yuan You don't need a time machine to go back to the Qing Dynasty! If you are looking for a unique experience, I would recommend this place. The team consists of 200+ staff divided into 7 levels, distinguished by their traditional uniforms, based on a similar ranking system used in the Forbidden City. It was the professional training to each staff and the attention to details making the whole experience so wonderful. Initially I thought it was a tourist trap with bad food, but we were very satisfied with our experience - the food, the service, and the ambience. Very impressive indeed! The menu had a wide range of food and even wider range of prices! If you don't need a private room and don’t order those expensive delicacies, you can come out from this place paying less than ¥1500 for two. Made in China - Grand Hyatt Beijing We went for the duck of course. They can only do about 70 ducks a day and each duck needs an hour of roasting in their traditional wood oven. Hence, reserving a duck when booking a table at this restaurant is a must. Other than the duck, the Honey Glazed King Prawn was superb! We went to Duck de Chine the day after and turned out to be the most disappointing meal of our trip! Ambience was bad, pancake was thick, and duck skin wasn’t crispy at all! South Beauty And like last time, we always stop by here for some modern and spicy Sichuan dishes. The Pacific Century branch probably had the most stylish dining room of this chain in Beijing. You can see more China here: http://www.finedinin...China/index.php
  10. Petrus, Caprice or Amber?

    Related to this topic, after my recent visit, the best French meal I had in Hong Kong was at Amber. I have not been to Petrus or Caprice for years though. The signature Sea Urchin was a memorable dish – a sea urchin shell elevated by a bowl of ice with a shiny caviar spoon on the side. I knew this would be a winner by simply imagining the marriage of creamy sea urchin and velvety cauliflower mousse. Chef Ekkebus further enhanced this combination with a layer of lobster jello before crowning it with a quenelle of caviar and a gold leaf. He cleverly served a seaweed waffle on the side, providing a crispy texture to the dish. Each component had its flair but it was the harmony of all these elements that perpetuated in my mind. From the kitchen to the dining room, from the ingredients to the plate, from amuse bouches to petits fours, everything flows seamlessly. Full meal here:
  11. Week in Cote d'Azur

    Yes, Mirazur is a must. We were there in September and we had a superb meal. The restaurant itself is a beautiful house on the French Riviera with a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. Here are some highlights from our meal: To kick off the menu, a creative and colourful selection of amuse bouche! Clam served on half shell with a touch of aubergine cream, followed by crunchy vegetable salsa on ink cracker served on a stone. A transformation of Jerusalem artichoke - fried its skin and mashed its flesh. The best item of the amusement was deep fried langoustine balls that exploded in our mouths, bursting with the warm flavour of intense crustaceans! This series of amuse bouche was one of the best – a wide range of flavours and textures! The first course was a thin pear jelly blanketing an oyster wrapped in a pear carpaccio accompanied by a poached pear ball. It was an experience popping the whole thing at once - the thin slice of crunchy, sweet, juicy pear followed by the silky moist oyster and a further lift by the shallot cream. It's food from heaven! Chef Colagreco is certainly on top of his game. One of the main courses became my all-time favourite! Not only did the combination of courgette, baby squash, and sea snails provide a wonderful mouth-feel, but the broth actually played the essential role. It was intense by itself but did an amazing job to match the strong texture of the dish, and the best part was the smoky charcoal finish! Both desserts were exceptional too. Green tomato and green apple sorbet - sounds like an odd combo but the fruity green apple sorbet, the brittle sugar casing, the creamy yogurt, and finally the chilled refreshing soup did an outstanding job tying them all together. Then a combination of orange flower brioche, orange sorbet, and sweet orange saffron cream. I took the brioche and soaked it up with as much orange cream as I could, and WOW! These sweet-fruity creams together with the fragrant brioche was very addictive! And the almond worked well by bringing a textural contrast to the spongy brioche while leaving behind a lingering aftertaste. If I was at home by myself, I would have picked up the plate and licked up the last remaining bit of cream! It was that good! As I was departing from the dining room, I realised there were many restaurants in my life that I wanted to go back to. However, this was the first time that I actually didn't want to leave at all! I strongly recommend a visit to Mirazur! CLICK HERE FOR FULL MEAL!
  12. Osteria Francescana

    Thanks for the great news!
  13. Momofuku Ko (Part 2)

    Right, and to be fair, Ko is a very small restaurant serving only 10-12 diners. It doesn't have the "economies of scale" as other big restaurants do. But still, since none of us has any better info, Ko could have a higher profit margin than EMP and SHO, yes, purely based on whatever I can observe during my meals at those places.
  14. Momofuku Ko (Part 2)

    Can I ask what you're basing this on, other than pure uninformed speculation? As I said again, regardless of profitable or not, my point was I felt that I didn't get what I paid for relative to those few other restaurants in discussion. That’s all. Say if you were extremely disappointed about a product after you paid a high price for it, you will make a statement like “it’s probably overpriced or the company probably makes a higher profit” rather than thinking “well, maybe I couldn't see most of the expenses being use, e.g. rent, salaries, legal, HR, insurance, marketing, etc. so I understand why it is such a high price.” Keep in mind that say you then got a much satisfying product across the street and at a significantly lower price. So Oakapple, back BKYLN's question to why you think EMP is just about break-even? It sounds like you have more info to justify your statement.
  15. Momofuku Ko (Part 2)

    Can I ask what you're basing this on, other than pure uninformed speculation? Well, I am not sure what Oakapple's thought was, but if customers felt they didn’t get what they paid for, it makes sense for them to believe the company (e.g. restaurant in this case) is making good profit right? Or when they felt the price is about right or even slightly better value, then the company is slight profitable or just break-even. Wouldn’t you feel the same? Of course, this assumes restaurants have similar expense ratio and not ineffectively using customer’s money, e.g. Hiring 3 people to do the job of one. If this is the case, then I understand how a restaurant can fail to deliver what customers paid for and being unprofitable at the same time. With Chang's success and the number of restaurants he has, I am sure he's running them cost effectively and that's why few of us here believe Ko is quite profitable relative to other restaurants in discussion.
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