[Hong Kong] La Cime x Arbor Four Hands Collaboration
Last week, I had an amazing lunch trying the four-hands menu between Yusuke Takada of 2* La Cime in Osaka and Eric Raty of Arbor! La Cime had just been awarded #17 and Highest New Entry on Asia’s 50 Best while Arbor is one of the best new openings in HK this year, so I was looking forward to the collaboration. Their styles are similar and complementary in many ways - modern French cuisine using bold combinations of ingredients while carefully balanced at the same time. This was definitely one of the best meals I've had in HK this year!
Arbor: Langoustine with avocado puree, lemon verbena oil and Japanese green chilies - one of my favorite dishes from my first meal at Arbor was the langoustine so I was glad to be able to try it again in a different way. The Icelandic langoustine was charcoal-grilled on the surface but kept rare and succulent in the center to maximize the flavor. I loved the hint of spiciness from the green chilies which was a rather exciting touch.
La Cime: Nectarine / Hazelnut Creme / Wasabi / Corn - the combination of nectarine and hazelnut worked surprisingly well together. The torched Corisca yellow peach was paired with sliced yellow zucchini fried with lemon thyme and olive oil. Underneath, the pumpkin purée with vanilla, purée of roasted hazelnut and roasted sweetcorns elevated the peaches' flavor without overwhelming their natural freshness. Some caramel popcorn were also provided on the side for a contrast of texture which turned out to be totally irresistible!
La Cime: Katsuo / Beetroot / Caviar / Smoked Oyster Creme - this was another gorgeous dish with spectacular detail to the plating. We were especially impressed with the tiny dew drops on the spicy-flavored Nasturtium leafs which resembled tiny lily pads. The taste was also amazing - while caviar can be misused to make a dish seem more luxurious sometimes, the use of it here was for practical reasons and served to balanced the sweetness of the Nagasaki katsuo which had been brined, smoked and torched.
La Cime: Awabi / Matsutake / Banana - this was one of the most interesting combination of the meal! We were all very intrigued by it when we saw it on the menu. The Japanese abalone was steamed with kombu, and paired with sliced Chanterelle and charcoal-grilled Matsutake mushrooms. The banana was in the foam cooked with abalone liver, enoki mushroom, shitake and roasted banana from Takada-san’s homeland, Amami Island. While the flavor of the banana wasn't apparent in the foam, I thought I detected a hint of it in the aroma.
Arbor: Iga Wagyu Beef A5 with Artichoke Puree - the Wagyu beef was charcoal grilled, and glazed with black garlic, white miso, sake and Finland gin while topped with horseradish and beef jus. The Jerusalem artichokes purée, Jerusalem artichokes chips and a piece of roasted Jerusalem artichoke on the side were fantastic as well.
Arbor: Sake Sabayon with Berries Sorbet - desserts are always a highlight at Arbor since Eric Ray used to be a pastry chef, and this was no exception! When the chef listed all of the ingredients used in the dessert, it sounded convoluted at first but everything came together seamlessly. The end result tasted like a Japanese cheesecake and I especially loved the chewy candied kombu on top!
Arbor: Small Potato - the chef jokingly explained that the dessert is inspired by La Cime because he is a "small potato" compared to Takada-san. Chef Eric created this incredible “ice cream” with frozen dips of Finnish potatoes called Puikula that was finished with cocoa butter, milk chocolate and coco powder for a crispy coating. The dessert was complemented with buckwheat, caramel, fresh passion fruit, 70% chocolate espuma, white and dark chocolate crumbles and a few slices of potato chips.
Finally we wrapped up the impressive meal with more freshly-baked pastry goodies from Arbor - Sake Lees Madeleine & Hojicha Macaron.
I can't wait to visit La Cime in Osaka next time!
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