Saturday, October 31, 2009

Agnes B Vins De France Wine Dinner

Friday, the end of a work week, a day to release you back to yourself.  Autumn is my favourite time of the year in HK.  No more sweat beading down my neck. 

After an all day jewellry beading class in Lamma, walking down small streets with bohemian store fronts and flip flop wearing westerner on bicycles, pace of life here seems almost like being in a small French Village.  But my loud metallic Prada platform, grey leather jacket and my fresh off the production line necklace reminded me that civilization is just around the corner.  25 minutes ferry ride and I am back into the luxurious cement jungle of IFC attending a wine dinner at Agnes' B. LaLoggia La Pain Grille hosted by Vins de France.
Within Agnes' B bypass the Garden Terrace tucked in a corner was LaLoggia.  Almost couldn't find the place.  Entering a narrow entrance, into the lounge, to the Library room, then the main dining room and into the private dining suite was where our table of 7 sat.  With the nice setting, Jonathan introduced me to Christophe Vrignaud, Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage of Agnes B restaurants in HK.  With his nicely pressed suit and open collar white shirt, he welcomed me to the restaurant.  With a short intro, he proceed to give me a lecture of Absinthe and promised us his one of a kind Absinthe fountain, only three in the world would come alive after dinner.

With much anticipation, guests slowly trickle into the dining room.  An originally quiet and chilled restaurant turned into a warm and chippery party ready to have a good time.  

The crab salad wrapped with marinated salmon was colorful and fresh with a bit of a citrus end note to it.  Light and refreshing.  Pairing with the clean and crisp St. Peray was the perfect introduction to the night.  Our signature Region for the evening was Rhone. My highlight was Crozes Hermitage Blanc from the north and of course my favourite Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, from the south.  If you want to know more about them, go to Jonathan's tasting notes

As much as I like Sea Urchine, Foie Gras with Uni seems to be a waste.  Two very buttery luxurious flavors, althought blend well togehter, but almost too well that it loses each other in the mix.  But I did enjoy the fig with it.  The coconuty flavor brought out the sweetness of the Sea Urchine.

Hare was everyone's favourite, my mom described it as the corn beef hash from the can, rich and sinfully delicious.  The red wine sauce was simple, not overpowering that would cover the taste of hare.  With a bed of polenta, it was the perfect canvas to let the hare shine.

Cape Grim Rib Eye was definitely my first.  Grain fed from Tasmania, Australia.  Cape Grim is famous for their wind farm and their clean air quality.  Buttery and more salty are the signature of the Beef.  That being said, Christophe prepared it with simplicity in mind adding Caviernaise to tie the knot.  However, with my US palate, I still prefer US Prime, some people might think its a bit gamy but I really enjoy the rich and distinct flavour of the beef.  

Comte Cheese with Cherry preserves was simple and light.  I have never had this cheese before, reminds me of a light Gruyere/swiss.  Easy to eat and not over powering.  Perfect after the Rib Eye.

Coming back from the powder room with the girls, we came back to discover all the empty bowls from our next dessert couse.  Aparently the Peach soup was delicious.  I had puree soup in mind but it was a simple sweet consomme with poached peach slices that was still crisp in texture and a lemon sorbet atop this clean and delicate dessert.  So perfect, nothing too fancy, not too complex.  Just a simple display of technique and just let the food and wine tell the story. 

French cuisine always reminded me of butter, rich sauce, perfect presentation and therefore guilty pleasure.  But tonight, I felt just right.  I didn't see shooting stars but more like an evening with clear blue sky. 

At 11:30pm, our party of 7 left 3 dead soilders behind.  Our French connection, P&P brings out the Cigars and we headed out to the balcony.  Next thing you know, our promise from Christophe arrived with the beautiful Absinthe Fountain.  Neon green Anise flavoured Spirit, aka "Green Fairy" was inside the glass with a slotted spoon holding a sugar cube on top.  Iced water trickling down from the fountain melting the sugar into the drink turning it milky green.  Kind of reminded me of that medicine that the doctor gave me when I was little.  Flavour was exotic and medicinal, with the reputation as an addictive psycoactive drug back in the late 19th century, popular among writers and artists. A Round table discussion with four high strung HK French men talking about politics, sexuality and of course French behavior, almost made me think the side effect of Absinthe does exist.

After much needed after dinner laughs, another perfect evening noted.  Intimate dinner with best of friends and family, simple yet dazzling food with O so posh French Wine and Spirit.  Another perfection formula in my book of life.

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