Sunday, January 29, 2017

Seasons by Olivier Elzer (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

We did the usual stuff on Chinese New Year day having family gathering at the same old Chinese restaurant in the morning. Then matinee was a visit to our parents' house and of course more Chinese food to come including some festive puddings. My mind was still flooded with images of greasy Chinese food to open the second day of New Year so I made the decision to get ourselves some French food for lunch instead. 

Thankfully, Seasons by Olivier Elzer is already open after a brief closure on Chinese New Year day.

When we arrived, the spacious dining room here was just half full and so was the kitchen. Presumably, some of their chefs were still on holidays?

Scallop tartare, fennel cream and lemon emulsion - I usually started things off with their signature lobster jelly and avocado dish but since it's the start of a new year, perhaps a change would be a sign of good things to come in the year of the rooster?

I went with their scallop tartare this time around. The finely diced fresh scallop was met with a refreshing mix of fennel cream and lemon emulsion, This was served with ice on the bottom to keep the temperature right. Pretty refreshing and definitely not a bad start. 

Prawn / Avocado / Lobster jelly & Romaine leaves - I miss this dish and I miss it badly. This has the perfect balance of flavors coming from the diced prawns, avocado and lobster jelly. The scallop tartare wasn't bad at all but this was just too good. I managed to steal a spoonful of this from mom and yes, it's still the best choice for starter around here.

Fricassée with tomato and Pastis sauce - Almost all five of us agreed on this one, well except one of us. I had this many many times like the previous lobster jelly and avocado dish and I never seemed to get tired of it. The escargots were done just right and the savory tomato and Pastis sauce was perfect with a slight kick of spiciness. Pretty nice.

63C poached egg, mushroom, bacon foam, red wine and shallot sauce - Someone courageous did take the 63 degree poached egg with mushroom, bacon foam, red wine and shallot sauce. This was okay but would definitely be hard pressed to beat out with the escargots fricassée.

Massala prawn with Venere rice risotto - Mom wanted risotto so this was an easy choice for her. I had this dish once before and didn't really like the combination of grilled prawns and "purple rice" but if you happen to be a diehard fan of those two ingredients, then this was worth a punt.

But for me, purple rice is supposed to be sweet so this was just a bit too weird for me when it tasted otherwise.

Duck leg Confit, red cabbage compoté and quinoa - I must have been here way too many times already coz this dish Jelloman was having, I also had the pleasure of having it once before. The duck leg was once again very tender and juicy in the middle while a little crispy on the outside. The red cabbage and quinoa did tone down the flavors of the duck ever so slightly so it won't be too "salty" for the palate.

Stewed wild boar, sweet potato foam and pepper sauce - I went with their stewed wild boar myself and was a little pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Under the layer of crispy crackers and mashed potatoes on top laid a bed of tender and juicy wild boar meat. This was served with a flavorful sauce made with the wild boar jus and pepper so it was a little spicy. There was no sign of the sweet potato foam as advertised in the menu though. 

I thought this dish was seriously good. With Chef Olivier's previous experience at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, there was no question in my mind that he's capable of creating a dish like this with a killer mash (oh yes, lots and lots of butter) but the texture and flavor from the wild boar did surprise me in a good and tasteful way. I definitely won't mind having this again although it might prove to be pretty heavy for those looking for a lighter meal.

Pistachio Paris-Brest and poached pear, yoghurt ice-cream - Most of us went with this dessert because of the combination of pistachio and pear.

It's beautifully plated too. I thought the mild acidity from the yoghurt ice-cream was quite an interesting match with the creamy pistachio and sweetened pear.

White chocolate and cream cheese Chantilly, mixed berries and balsamic-strawberry sorbet - I missed out on the Paris-brest because I couldn't pull the trigger when we initially placed our order. I asked our server to check with me again after the finish of my main dish and that turned out to be a very poor decision on my part as I was later informed that it's already been sold out. So, I was left stranded with this combination of white chocolate, cream cheese chantilly, mixed berries and balsamic strawberry sorbet.

If it's any consolation, I thought the various degree of acidity here did well to offset the richness of my previous wild boar and escargot dishes. It didn't look as good as the Paris-brest but I like the results (as a palate cleanser).

What I enjoy most about Seasons by Olivier Elzer is how they are able to deliver their dishes on a consistently high standard. That's a quality that's not often seen even for some of the Michelin starred restaurants in town.

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 308, 3/F, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2505-6228

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