[China: Shenzhen] Ensue by Chris Kostow of 3* Meadowood
An exciting new restaurant just opened in Shenzhen - Ensue by Chef Christopher Kostow of 3* The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley! Located on the top of Shangri-La Hotel in Futian, the restaurant represents the chef's first foray into Asia where he combines the California farm-to-table culture and techniques with Cantonese tastes and ingredients. Chef Kostow is one of the youngest chefs in America to receive 3 Michelin stars and his restaurant in California has maintained the honor since 2011. Meadowood has been on my list of restaurants to try in the US so I was excited to be able to try his food for the first time.
The main dining room exudes an understated type of elegance with wooden details and dark chic tones while blending elements of Chinese luxury with the natural beauty of the Napa Valley. The open kitchen is also impressively large with state of the art equipment and lots of natural light - a few of my chef friends in Hong Kong were immediately envious of the size when they saw it on my Instagram story.
Just above the restaurant is Alcove - the restaurant's bar with expertly crafted cocktails developed by Beau du Bois who heads up the bar and spirits program at Meadowood. Guests can enjoy a tipple before or after their dinner at the stylish yet cozy bar.
After a few drinks, we headed back downstairs to start our dinner with a few appetizers.
Scallop Poached in its Gao Tang | Grilled Celtuce | Chervil
My favorite of the canapes was the tea smoked eel paired with a poached beef tongue which had been marinated for 5 days and wrapped in a Dragon Well tea paper. The delicate smokiness and umami flavors swirled on our tongues and lingered in our mouth.
Raw North China Geoduck | Grilled Celery | Sichuan Pepper-tree
The first dish of the mains was the thinly-sliced geoduck from North China Sea served raw with vinaigrette made from geoduck stock, fresh green Sichuan peppercorns and Chinese celery grilled over lychee charcoal. It was a refreshing dish as the sweetness of the geoduck contrasted nicely with the hint of spiciness from the peppercorns.
Quickly Smoked Caviar | Potato & Crème Fraîche Custard | Fresh Peas
The next dish was all about showcasing the pure flavors of the ingredients - Osetra Caviar from Kaluga Queen served with chilled custard made from fermented potatoes and crème fraiche, and topped with thickened pea juice, fresh pea tendrils and a green oil made from parsley and green garlic tops.
Water Turtle Soup | Australian Winter Truffle | Baby Pearl Onions | Allium Flowers
The soup was rather light for our taste but a dash of salt brought out the flavors immediately.
Local Turbot Steamed with Overlord Flowers | Market Green Vegetables
Grilled Abalone | Liver Sauce | Poached Charred Eggplant | Amaranths
The grilled abalone from Dalian was easily another favorite with a rich sauce from made its liver and egg yolk served with eggplant charred over the fire and then poached in olive oil and clarified butter.
Poussin Baked in Sourdough of the Sea | Conch Whelk | Broccoli | Jus
The definite highlight of the meal was the young chicken baked inside a seaweed sourdough bread; leg meat and sea conch were used for a mousseline sauce which was stuffed under the skin of the chicken. The finished product was served with a delicious jus made from whelk juices, roasted chicken frames and Chinese yellow wine. The crunchy and super flavorful sourdough was then cut up and arrived as a side to perfectly complement the dish.
The last savory dish of the night was the Wagyu from Quirindi aged for 30-60 days with Chinese rock salt served with fresh Yunnan mushrooms cured with lees from baijiu and Bordelaise style sauce made with bone marrow.
Fresh Soy Milk Yogurt | Yellow Fruit Curd
The palate cleanser was a refreshing yogurt made with fresh soy milk and paired with a tart yellow fruit curd.
Our Walnut Chocolate | Grape Jelly | Buffalo Milk Kefir Ice Cream
The main dessert was a delicious chocolate tart made using roasted Xinjiang walnuts to replace cocoa nibs and served with ice cream made from Yunnan buffalo milk kefir and Chinese Kyoho grape jelly.
Finally ending our meal with a series of petit fours:
- Sour Cherry Gushers filled with chartreuse liquid center
- Green Apples compressed in lemon balm juice and wrapped in shiso
- Strawberry Gummies with white sesame
- Candied Ginseng & Ginger cooked in Jiangsu honey and dried in dehydrator
- Pineapple Jam encased in a coco butter and dried pineapple shell
- Lychee Caramels with sea salt and jasmine
A few of the people I was eating with had trouble pinpointing the type of cuisine served at Ensue (some said French, Japanese, Chinese, etc.), but it's really American cuisine which has always been its own thing and a melting pot of sorts. As Bruce Lee said "adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own", and perhaps that is exactly what Chef Kostow is doing with the local ingredients and culinary traditions.
4088 Yi Tian Road, Futian District, Shenzhen, China, 518048
Tel: +86 755 8828 4088
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