Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Frantzén's Kitchen (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

Christmas is fast approaching which reminded me that my food buddy, Agent-I's birthday is coming up. I quickly pinged her over the weekend and asked for her schedule before Christmas. After fixing a date that works with both of our schedule, here comes the difficult part - finding a dinner venue for the occasion.

There were a couple of places that came up in our conversation but at the end, it was Frantzén’s Kitchen getting the call to tame my friend's spoiled taste buds. 

I love a restaurant's menu that changes regularly and if I can visually see what's in each dish, even better! It was my second time here so I know the drill already. For someone like me with a small appetite, a couple of snacks (maybe three), one to two starters and finally finished with a fish and meat course. 

Poached oyster ($80) - I was a little surprised to find the oyster served slightly chilled after reading the word "poached" on the menu. I like its complexity of flavors coming from the acidity of the frozen rhubarb, sweetness of dried gooseberry and a bit of leafy floral note from Hernö gin. But I thought the low temperature of the oyster took something away from all these. Still love the mix of flavors though. Not bad.

French toast ($120+?) - Next up was their clever interpretation of a modern French toast. We went with an upgraded version of this so instead of aged cheese, it came with a layer of fresh sea urchin. This was one of my favorite dish of the night. The thin-crusted and crunchy toast worked so well with the shaved winter truffle and briny sea urchin on top while the balsamic vinegar and truffle tea provided the perfect icing on the cake. Very nice design matched with perfect execution right there.

Toast "pelle Janzon" ($195) - My first starter, a signature dish from the kitchen, was chef Frantzén's modern take on the Swedish sandwich. On top of the toasted brioche was tasty beef carpaccio along with small cubes of lightly charred beef from the same Swedish dairy cow, finished with deep fried quail egg and vendace roes atop. This was a beautiful dish with the Swedish beef playing the leading role, complimented nicely with the savoriness of the quail egg and vendace roes.

Velouté ($130) - Another signature dish immediately followed. This was a dish highly recommended by our server. The white onion velouté was paired with white onion purée, liquorice cream, smoked Marcona almonds and crumbs. I thought it was a little on the heavy side especially with the thick liquorice cream slightly too overpowering in its supporting role.

Right before our main courses arrived, some Swedish crispbread with brown butter was served. Forget about the crispbread, the key here was the brown butter which was so delicious and addictive. It didn't take long before Agent-I and I took out the entire tray of bread.

Poached turbot "43°C" ($220) - I have seen a version of this served with dehydrated sea urchin powder but not this time. The poached turbot was really nice and silky but it was the "stuff" in the middle which got me lost. 

Right in the middle of the action was Jerusalem artichoke purée with toasted cream, seasonal mushrooms, lardo, hazelnut and chicken jus. There're a lot of things in there with contrasting flavors and textures. Rich and complex flavors. And I thought it was a little too much for the turbot to handle.

Roasted pork belly ($225) - I was tempted to order this last time I visited but ended up waiting almost a year to get my second chance. The pork belly was really nicely done with the perfect texture while the fermented carrot "hot sauce", pumpkin, burnt kale and black garlic did their part to balance the richness of the pork.

Many thanks to the good guys here for the complimentary chocolate cake. Love the blueberry panna cotta and chocolate mousse filling. I don't think we could afford more space for dessert.

There were some hit-and-misses (much more hits than misses) there but for the most part, we had a very enjoyable dinner with impeccable service and well executed (well designed as well) food. I thought they really got snubbed by the guys from Michelin again but with the loyal fan base which has been filling out the restaurant every night, I don't think they really care.

Food Rating: 7.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 11 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central / Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 2559-8508

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