Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pierre Gagnaire & Bordeaux Cuisine, Le French Gourmay Preview (Hong Kong) -

  Michelin 2 Stars

Pierre Gagnaire is in town doing a Bordeaux inspired cuisine as a preview meal.  Later on during Le French Gourmay in May 2012,   5 of the dishes from this preview dinner will be presented as a fixed 5 Courses menu.    The preview menu during April is 8 courses versus the 5 dishes in May,  which is slightly unexpected,  but regardless we did take the opportunity to come earlier to try out more food courses.    The meal came to around $2200 per person in the end for your info,   I thought some of the dishes were quite fun and great indeed but I would have been happier if some dishes paid more attention to some blunders.    Some items weren’t co-relatable  to the menu descriptions.    For example,  a Duck Crackling dish as described on the menu,  turned out to be a duck terrine with shiitake mushroom!   A Apple Compote arrived at the table appearing as an Apple Crisp instead.   And the Chartrons Apple Tart wasn’t really a tart anymore no matter how you view it.    I remain baffled by the randomness.    You could call it artistic,  or you could call it Pierre Gagnaire’s latest style.   Some dishes were quite enjoyable however,  but the randomness and the mediocre ones really distracted from the overall experience on the whole.


Badoit Sparkling Water -  $105
Seriously over priced bottle of water.
Water is a necessity,  not a premium product especially when this is just a Badoit water not some exotic elixir portion claiming to have healing powers.    Water is not worth this premium,  and they ran out of stock on the Chateldon which I actually ordered first.  Ordering warm water next time just to save myself some money.. Smile  




(Rear) Parmesan Biscuit with Radish and Anchovies,  with Olives and Eggplant Tapenade. 
Whisky and Beer jelly
was however unbalanced and in your face,  and more gimmicky than really enjoyable,  not getting it at all.    The best amuse bouche was the Cheesy Gougere.   Overall not as impressive as usual dinner starters,  despite ordering the same Tasting course.   We chose lunch time for ease of taking photos under better lighting conditions.   If you want a better overall experience from start to finish though, insist on coming during dinner.    ~   5/10




Bread  -
The bread basket has welcomed lately a thin crispy bread which was good.  The Au Lait milk bread was still great,  and the cheesy roll totally awesome.  The small baguette does pale in comparison to Macau’s Robuchon au Dome though,  not much flavours,  but crispy outside.    ~  7/10




Butters -
The Lunch butter is different from Dinner Butters.  Totally understandable due to the different price range.   But like the amuse bouches above,  we are actually paying for our Full Bordeaux Experience at exactly the same price during lunch as well as dinner,  and we are trying to arrive at lunch time just to take better photos.   So shouldn’t it have the same pre-starters as visiting at night if it is exactly the same course and same price range??    Thanks to the staff for bringing out to us the final Bordier’s normal and seaweed butter,  without us making additional request.   Totally appreciate this impeccable and smart service.  Professional!    ~  8/10




2005 Chateau Perenne, Bordeaux Wine -  $140 a glass
With a Bordeaux Tasting Menu,  on theory it should be paired with their only available Bordeaux wine by the glass.  The Full Wine Pairing course is more interesting but I can’t take it all in during lunch time,  I’ll try it during dinner.




Button Mushroom Jelly, Sliced Button Mushroom, 
Iced Potato Soup with Horseradish,  Aquitaine Caviar - 
The Caviar was quite neutral in taste and not that salty, good.  The Mushroom duxelle was slightly missing the mushroom flavours.  The various methods of treating the mushrooms was appreciated more for texture variation than for taste,  and the horseradish component flashed across once but didn’t appear again.  The latter part had me in a mystique. Nice cold soup.  ~  6.9/10



 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACountry Style Bordelais -
Grenier Medocain,  Duck Crackling & 
Black Pudding w Apple Compote with Golden Grapes.
The Grenier Medocain is similar to an Andouillette tripes sausage and came with Sauterne braised radish.     The Duck Crackling became a chopped duck terrine with shiitake mushrooms ~  not understanding the terminology here?   The apple compote with golden grapes also  turned out to be a apple crisp Confused smile ~  5/10




Grenier Medocain -
I liked this a lot,  but it was over-powered by the pile of Sauterne braised radish beneath a little..   Could have been more thickly sliced portions wise or have a few more pieces to cover the top  ~ 7/10



Duck Crackling -
Why we asked,   is a duck crackling as described on the menu becoming a duck terrine and shiitake mushroom?  This tasted a little benign and carrying not enough duck meat or duck liver flavour like too.   A bit over shadowed by the shiitake mushrooms taste.   ~  5/10




Black Pudding with Apple Compote and Golden Grapes -
The black pudding was too mild and missing the bloods taste,  not only that but rather gritty and stringy.   The apple compote promised wasn’t a compote but a dehydrated apple crisp.   I think this would work very well in the ideal situation but this time it was an epic fail in execution and taste.    It simply didn’t work at all and I could find better in Melbourne’s cafes easily   ~  3/10




Hi Pierre -
What a nice guy indeed and all smiley.   Probably a little random with his food plays,  some people like this serendipitous and artistic style,  some might prefer some sort of continuity.  I am in the middle somewhere!




Oyster in Oyster Broth with Graves White Wine, 
Slow Simmered Leek and Shallot,
Brioche toast and Tricandille Bordelaise -
This was nice,  but can do with more oyster broth flavour.   The oyster texture was perfectly executed & only slightly cooked.   The Tricandille Bordelaise sausage is also tripes based,  and this had a stronger organs smell but surprisingly didn’t clash with the oyster.  Liked this a lot,  bar the weakish oyster broth.  ~   9/10




Plain Duck Liver Terrine,
Caramelized Pear Segment flavoured with Espelette Pepper, 
Cannele with Aged Balsamic (Canele), Celeriac in Mustard Sauce -
The cannele/canele looked a bit wrong,  I am surprised they were allowed out of the kitchen.  The texture was more like an over-baked Yorkshire pudding with vanilla seeds.   The Duck Liver Terrine texture was slightly too melty and wasn’t sliced very cleanly either.  Room for improvement    ~  6/10




Bordelaise Style Lamprey Eel,  Velvety Spinach Soup with Sorrel -
Not sure if it’s the sorrel or more citrus added.  Initially this was quite acidic,  and I had to add some sea salt and gamble on whether this would balance things.  Luckily it worked.   The French imported red eel texture was more like sardines as it was quite lean and flaky,  but I liked the overall dish composition so much.   ~   9/10




Heart of Beef Fillet, Bordelaise-style Chopped Cepe Mushrooms with Bread Crumbs & Roquette,  Bone Marrow,  Beetroot Syrup with Foie Gras and Mustard.
Ordered as Medium-Rare against my will of rare by default for eye fillet. 
Apparently in French cooking,   ordering rare will turn out to be blue.  Interesting.  Let’s see what happens..



Some others’ plates were better,  but mine was too dried out and over-cooked. 
The staff happily cooked me another one,  and I really think eye fillets aren’t so easily messed up.




This 2nd returned dish was much much better,  and surprisingly had grill marks on it.  It was moist inside and even had more beef flavours.   We already suspected the above dish was ‘roasted’ due to colours and crust appearance and had probably dried out in the oven.  This freshly grilled piece was much better and everyone on the table also tasted it just to compare.  It was like day and night,  the 1st piece my knife struggled to cut through it,  the 2nd piece the knife glided through like cutting through butter.  They should stick to just grilling this piece of muscle than roasting it for whatever reasons.  This 2nd piece was awesome.  The 1st piece was far from this level..    ~   9/10



Difference of night and day. 
Was way better when cooked this way than slow roasting…
It was tender and moist.  Unlike the dried out pieces we ate before and had to return.




Thinly sliced 36 months Comte,
White Chocolate Pearls, 
Sauternes Jelly and Chopped Vegetables -
This was pretty good as a cheese course.   The aged Comte was still only semi-hard but not crystalized salty .   Really balanced,  instead of being too quirky.   ~  7/10




Armagnac Ice Cream,  Bitter Fruit Marmalade with Berries -
A refreshing dessert.  We couldn’t find much Armagnac taste in the ice cream however. 
~  6.9/10




Apple Chartrons Tart with Sponge, Frozen Grapes,  Blackcurrant Juice,  Lime Foam -
This is a modern interpretation of this Bordeaux creation and the apple was cooked mille feuille style.   Honestly I like playful food sometimes but I just didn’t think this worked this time.    An Apple Tart should at least have some sort of expected flaky pastry to be shown somewhere right?    ~  4/10



Chocolate Cake with Ganache, with Chocolate Ice Cream and some Gianduja paste -
This is not on the printed menu but came as an extra course and tasted brilliant by itself.   But the recipe seemed like what you can find in a cake shop or at a buffet dinner.      ~   7/10




A glass of Lillet comped by the restaurant,
as a tasting...  Thanks.




The meal had it’s Ups and Downs,  much like most Haute Cuisine meals.
That’s always a Given.
Unlike downstairs Mandarin Bar and Grill (1 Star) which is honestly one of the best restaurants in Hong Kong over several visits,  if not also in the world, when even their lowest performing dishes are usually still above-average grade over at dinner..   Some of the lows encountered at this Pierre meal could benefit from passing through a more stringently controlled and QC’ed kitchen!    I thought some of the Bordeaux inspired dishes were exquisite and educational,  if they could fix some of the weaknesses and the Menu description inconsistencies.    It could become a very good Le French Gourmay experience if they are open to criticism.   I did really liked some individual dishes here,  after all.  The weaker dishes however was a little unexpected..  Hope they can change and improve in time for Le French Gourmay.





Price:   $1688 + 10%.   Total paid around $2200.
Ease of Access:  4/5  (2 mins from Central MTR exit)
Food: ♕♕  to  ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours -
Mon to Fri:  12:00am - 00:00am
Sat: 19:00pm - 00:00am


Address: 中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店25樓
25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central
Ph: 2825 4001


  1. Wait, this is not at landmark right?

    Is there a MO grill at landmark? I'm going to stay at the landmark next year in my hk trip. :D

  2. There are 2 Mandarin Orientals, one is the older one (which I like) or the Landmark one, which I really love their Amber haha!

    This is at the original one : )



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