Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pierre – ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Michelin 2 Stars

The last visit to Pierre in Mandarin Oriental of Hong Kong, of Pierre Gagnaire’s fame was during a rushed Express Lunch session -  Lunch at Pierre, which was an engaging and fun experience.  That meal was fantastic for what it was and certainly representing great value for money, say compared to its next-door Chinese restaurant Man Wah (文華廳) or Pierre’s dinner itself, considering lunch costs only around a 1/3th of this meal.

Perhaps its to do with my expectations, as I’d imagined dinner to be more of a formal affair and instead of being outright avant garde and adventurous, I certainly came in believing that there would be some sort of a grand dining scheme and coherence in the courses.   Did it perform up to International Standards?  Perhaps.  However I felt that it was a little clustered and confusing here and there, with individual dishes coming out from the kitchen left and right – and to be very honest as hard as I tried to keep listening I managed to slightly lose track of which dish belongs to which Course I’d ordered, until I re-checked the menu…   Nevertheless on their own, some of the dishes were wonderfully executed.


Seaweed Butter on the left, Smoked Salted butter on the far right - 
Nothing short of Bordier’s most craved after butters from Bretagne.
Both were amazing… Note that during lunch, different butters are served at Pierre ~

Mini Baguette and Onion Bread, same as lunch…

Appertisers of a Chopped peppers, Quinoa, Herbs & Olive Spread, Prawn Dumpling in French/Chinese way, Duck Ham with Squid Ink Gnocchi, Tandoori Crisp, Crispy Bread with Blue Cheese Yogurt dip, Ginger Coated Liquorice Jelly, Cheese Biscuit ~

White wine from Brana, Southwest of France


Crunchy Artichoke, Oyster, Sea Snails and Murex, with Mackerel Sauce -
Perfect start, lovely entree ~ 10/10

Sea Bream Tartar, infusion Froide Dolce, Celery Remoulade & Horseradish -
Sounds way better than it tasted or tried too hard to impressed.  Can the palate even tell between each of these components?   ~  7/10

Squid Stuffed with Local Mushrooms, Spicy Braised Vegetable Puree -
This was tasty, and I appreciate the effort put into it, but it’s like,
this is just thinly sliced squid isn’t it?  Nothing is kinda jumping out  ~ 7/10

Sea-Urchin Bisque, thickened with Potato, Squid Rings and Cuttlefish Brunoise -
This is quite yummy indeed. But why is there the need for both a squid and diced cuttlefish brunoise,
a bit of over-kill isn’t it, as both taste so similar!  In my opinion, another additional white fish or even a boudin noir component would have created a better effect ~  7.5/10

Lobster Bisque with a Fluffy Pastry Stick -
This wasn’t really explained on the menu much, but anything to do with crustaceans can’t go very wrong ~ 9/10


Some Spanish Ham -
I can scarcely remember this, but all I know is this isn’t even near the best Jamon in the world,
why even put it into the course?  ~  6/10

Traditional Fleischnaka of Chacuterie, consisting of Blood Sausage, Normal Sausage and Ham skewered on Fried Noodle Strand, with Sauerkraut. In Foie Gras Soup and a piece of Pan Seared Strasbourg Foie Gras - 
Good, but overall too incoherent and weird as a combination.  I liked it deep under to be frank,
but as a Starred Restaurant, its confusing the customer’s mind unless ‘eclecticism’ rather than a calculated combination of how flavours work together is what its really aiming for  ~  7/10

Black Truffle Tart -
I had no idea why this was even on the table, as it really fitted in with nothing. 
The Pie’s crust wasn’t too good either ~ 6/10

Reims:  Champagne Sorbet, Grape, Grenadine and Coquelicot Vinegar -
On its own, this tasted gorgeous, but what is it role in this Entree Set? Its too early to be a palate cleanser, slightly out of place within this Pierre Gagnaire’s View of France.  I was completely lost by this stage (but I really liked this, just  that it was a little random!)  ~  8/10

Bouillaibaisse Jelly with Seafood -
This is just a miniscule variation of my similar molecular ‘jelly’ dish during lunch, minus the soubressade ice cream and sausage pieces.  What is its main purpose at all?  Beats me  ~  6/10


Great decoration, with Clean and shiny cutlery…


Roast Loin of Hare (Rabbit), with Juniper, Blackcurrant, Red Cabbage and Pomme Darphin -
This was pretty good, the junipers slightly spicy note with the balanced acid-sweetness from the graphs and cabbage, together with a hash-brown lookalike was interesting and gamey. I thought this was slightly dry at the time, but in hindsight, other Michelin restaurants did exactly the same thing ~ 7/10

Foie Gras Tarlet with Chocolate, Walnut and Endive Salad -
This paired well with the Hare, unlike the above out-of-this-blue Black Truffle tart.  I thought the chocolate pieces looked to be cut a bit rough for presentation to be nick-picking, but it tasted good but not very Gras like for some reason  ~ 7/10

Civet: With Crosnes and Grelot Onions -
Reading the menu, one would wonder where the Crosnes had gone to (Chinese Artichokes), but its actually served in a separate dish below.  In fact, this is the piece de resistance of the whole Hare set, as the rabbit is cooked with its own blood as per a Traditional French recipe, which makes it really gamey and bordering on off-putting to the nose.  This is topped with fried chestnuts ~ 9/10

Crosnes -
Not often seen in many cuisines, occasionally it makes a guest appearance on French or Chinese dishes,
probably more for its crunchiness factor than its taste ~ 7/10


Petits Fours with Scoop of Sorbet -
A marzipan like candy, crispy pearl, chocolate truffle and citrusy pate arrived with a refreshing sorbet.
I don’t mind this surprised and approach, but just to warn you, this arrived right after the main meal.  I liked this a lot, but its a bit unconventional as a sequence considering I was about to order some sort of Bernard Antony cheese course and way before I was about to order any coffees or tea.  That’s despite knowing this is Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant we’re talking about!  *scratches head*  ~ 8/10

Fourme d'Ambert and Mozzarella: 
Biscuit Souffle, Mesclun Salad, Mozzarella Ice Cream, Pear Pulp a l'eau de vie Williamine -
If I ever visit Pierre again for dinner, I am not going to blog about it again.  It is a tedious and confusing job!   I have absolutely no idea why Fourme d’Ambert and Mozzarella ice cream is paired together, its becoming so fussy and try hard.  I liked the Pear Pulp soaked in l’eau de vie a lot, yet the rest of the stuff like a few sprigs of meslun was just for entertainment.  The whole cheese dish was actually baked like a souffle and very tasty and quite strong.  On its own I loved it.  But I think the overall sophisticated description belies the very ordinary recipe of the dish here, despite tasting very good and a novelty in Hong Kong ~ 8/10

Good. Even very good taste wise. I can totally see the heart and effort put into this dish or separated dishes, but it almost makes me angered because 'things’ are present separately rather than being integrated, just for the sake of it… 
(It reminds me of AMBER a while ago, before they had corrected that problem recently)

CASTANEA of Vents de Sable, Marron Glace, Pistachio Ice Cream, Castanea Cream, Roasted Pears -
If anything out of Pierre or Nicolas’s kitchen will always spring a surprise, I am sure its its desserts.  This dessert was very well balanced in overall composition...  The Castanea-Chestnuts was presented in both the form of Chestnut Cream and a Glazed Marron, and the roasted pear pieces lying inside with the deliberately ‘lemony’ flavoured Vents de Sable was designed to cancel out the very filling sweetness from the Marron.  The quenelle of Pistachio Ice Cream was ‘dunked’ into the dessert and letting it melt like a creamy texture just to create the perfect balance in mouthfeel, a sort of hybrid between a meringue and a creamy dessert overall.  *Those not too familiar with this technique in Hong Kong may probably think, why is the ice-cream let to become so melty?  But that’s the whole point of this exercise, as is practised in many European restaurants nowadays ! ~ 9/10

$1600 Per Person
Dinner Score: ★★★★

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

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)
Phone: 2825 4001


1 comment:

  1. Dear HK Epicurus,

    On behalf of Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, my name is Geoff and am responsible for our E-Commerce & Social Media for our hotel property. I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for your visit to Pierre and are delighted to hear that you had an enjoyable experience.

    Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us should you require our assistance.

    Yours Sincerely
    Geoffrey Wu
    E-Commerce & Social Media Manager



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