Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Mirror (Hong Kong)

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A former apprentice to Alain DucasseJeremy Biasiol is now the man behind The Mirror and I dare say it is quite an exciting restaurant which I would love to return soon if I can get a table that is. It is rather unfair to relate Jeremy with Alain Ducasse because he now has his own styles and approaches to traditional French cuisine. I think I can only say he was strongly inspired by Alain to become who he is right now. Looking at him behind the open kitchen in this rather homey and cozy setting, one can see his passion and dedication in cooking. He checks on his guests every now and then to control the pacing. I was observing him after my starter and he thought I was waiting impatiently so he looked at me and called onto the wait-staff by saying  快脆 (Faai3 ceoi3) in Cantonese which translates to "hurry up!" to serve us the mains. He even came out at the end of the night to chat with all guests and ask for comments and feedback. A very nice touch indeed!



Just in case I did not mention, do call ahead to book, please. One of the key reasons for the relative long wait list is that they do not turn table, only one reservation per table per night. The bread platter was cute but apparently the breads were outsourced due to the size of their kitchen. If you are wondering, they were from La Rose Noire. No complaints especially when the two of us shared ... 2.5 platters of them.

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Frog legs with thin garlic cream and watercress sauce. A rather traditional dish not easily seen in Hong Kong's French restaurants. The meat was quite bland in flavor but it was the garlic cream and watercress sauce that made the world of differences. I personally prefer to see the bone-in for those frog legs so I can use my fingers to eat them. :)

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Mirror Salad with winter vegetables and black truffle vinaigrette was a very refreshing dish. The presentation was splendid, simply presented with drizzle of truffle vinaigrette. Sometimes simplicity is the best. But  I do wonder why it was served after the frog leg, perhaps to somehow cleanse our taste buds?

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The Chestnuts velouté with baby herbs and roast chestnuts soup was one of mixed feelings. Velouté is one of the 4 mother sauces in French cuisine (the other three are Tomato, mayonnaise, and hollandaise). Simply put, it was a tough sauce to make! The soup itself was thick and creamy with a surprisingly strong chestnuts aroma      that filled my sense of smell as it was poured. I said mixed feelings because I am not a big fan of chestnuts but I still cleaned the bowl quite clean! It was the creaminess that truly impressed me.

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The Mirror Signature Menu allows a choice of one mains but I opted for the choice where I select both available mains! A little rub on my stomach told me that it was do-able! Huge Scallops it was for the Scallops lightly roast with cauliflower and tomatoes confites. The sauce was a cauliflower puree if I recalled correctly because it was quite flavorful and creamy!!! As for the scallops, one of the three was slightly over cooked due to the uneven size I assumed. (for those interested, it was quite hard to take a picture with such a long rectangular plate, really have to play around with it. I usually look around to see what other ppl ordered and see how presentation would look like so I can plan ahead to minimized the time required when served.)

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My second main for French pork tenderloin with caramelized applies and Jerusalem artichokes (together with blood sausages on the side). Wonderfully prepared! One thing worth pointing out though was how one of them was slightly over cooked, likely due to the uneven size of the piece of meat perhaps. The juicer one was ... Slurp! (I am addicted in using this word ... it is so simple yet so ... direct in expressing my reaction of the dish). Nonetheless, the texture of the two pieces of meat was quite ... different due to their sizes and cooking time, I think Jeremy should look into that. The blood sausages were something either one hates or loves, really hard to force someone to like it. Just for the record, I heart blood sausages but someday  my heart will disagree!

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Dessert was Mint Chocolate Cake "Mirror Style." Not certain why it was called Mirror Style, perhaps because everything seemed so symmetrical? (or simply because the place is named Mirror?) Anyhow, it was minty and very chocolate but did not really excite me as much compared with the previous few dishes.

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We did have a nice meal and enjoyed the whole experience. From our brief chat with Jeremy, we know that he is aiming to create a venue that provides classic French dishes in a casual atmosphere hence the contemporary decor and dining tables without any table clothes. He wanted to give diners the feeling of home when they enter this restaurant and leave with a smile on their faces. There were some misses like the overcooked scallops but I departed with a big smile.


Likes: 
  • Frog legs with thin garlic cream and watercress sauce - if the legs were bone-in it would be better for my own liking. 
  • Chestnuts velouté with baby herbs and roast chestnuts soup
Dislikes:
  • Scallops lightly roast with cauliflower and tomatoes confites - sweet from the freshness of the scallops but unevenly cooked among the 3 due to uneven size perhaps. 
Avg Spending: HKD 498 (5 courses) or HKD 598 (6 courses) per person as of 18 Dec 2010.

The Mirror
6/F, Tiffan Tower,
199 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai
Tel: + 852 2573 7288
http://themirror.hk/




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12 comments:

e_ting said...

Oh the chestnut veloute looks so good! wish they had it the night I went, I LOVE chestnuts! My scallops were also sub par; I seem to remember them saying they were Hokkaido scallops, but they were stringy - nothing compared to the creamy coins I had in situ! But in any case I think Mirror is a great addition to the often blah HK private kitchen scene. (If slurp is your fave word, I think blah is mine! I must learn to be more positive like you hahaha)

Spike said...

The price seems incredibly reasonable for high quality French food in HK. On the other hand, bread from La Rose Noire? The same bread that I tell my helper NOT to buy (since in our case Ali Oli is close by)?

By the way, curious that you don't mention wine. Even if you're not a wine drinker yourself, would be helpful if you could at least note the range of prices on the wine list.

(And maybe the cake was called Mirror Style because the name of the restaurant was Mirror?)

Some day places like this will be in my budget again. Happy new year!

smogsblog said...

I echo Spike's comment about the wine - surely an important part of any French meal?

As to bread, I really quite like La Rose Noire - there's a counter in my local Wellcome, and they have a good variety of all sorts of stuff. The key though is looking at the Use By dates on the packaging and getting the ones that are fresh.

Jason said...

@e_ting: you actually raised a very good point about private kitchens in Hong Kong. I would have to agree that many similar establishments are BLAH! indeed! Many recent so-called private kitchens are taking the wrong direction in my opinion. The whole idea of private kitchen in my opinion is a place that offer a cozy atmosphere with food prepared out of strong convictions of quality at reasonable prices. Lower rent is a main reason for being to do so. However, a lot of the new joints (ie: so-called private kitchens) charging RIDICULOUS prices. They are turning or perhaps redefining the underlying essence of this once wonderful category. For good or bad? I am not sure.

Jason said...

@Spike & @smogsblog: Thanks for pointing out the part about wine which I admit I overlooked at many occasions. I will start including at least the range of prices for a more comprehensive coverage. Thanks again.

As for the bread, those we had at The Mirror was quite decent. I do wonder if they produce different grading of bread for different outlets because I had really sub par ones from Oliver. (perhaps as suggested by @smogsblog, they were not that fresh when I got them.)

Yeah, of course I do know the Mirror Style cake was based on its name haha ... but I wonder if the name Mirror has any symbolic meaning to it. Maybe worth emailing to ask.

HK Epicurus said...

So Jason, did you mean the different pieces of pork tenderloin and scallops had a different texture? haha. That's weird. Actually the presentation of these two dishes reminds me of Fofo by El Willy!

But other than that, I agree sometimes the dishes could be simple but still enjoyable. Kind of like how Robuchon never tries to combine more than 3-4 ingredients in a dish, because it'll make it confusing for the palate. Although the best chefs in the world in my opinion, can combine 5,6 or 7 ingredients and make them work magically together! That's like winning the lottery and much harder to achieve! :D

Waldo said...

Greatread! I like that you include your personal biases and not try to be too objective because food is enjoyed from the inside out.. Thx for the share

TomEats said...

It is interesting to see one of Ducasse's protege's doing evidently good things in a restaurant over here. His new 3 star place in London at the Dorchester has been largely panned and maybe it is now the time where he fades away and his importance is in those he trained!

laydeejol said...

I got myself a table at The Mirror in mid-Feb, so thx for the great headsup Jason! :D can't wait to go try things out now :) x

Jason said...

@HK Epicurus: yeah! one was more tender and moist than the other, slightly inconsistence but still very good in general. Mayne I am just too picky. And yes, simple dishes are the way to go I think. In many cases, diners look to enjoy a meal with something they know perhaps and combination too many things and approaches may turn out to be a little overwhelming to some.

Jason said...

@Waldo: thanks for dropping by!!!

@TomEats: "maybe it is now the time where he fades away and his importance is in those he trained!" ... what you said is so true! I think Ducasse himself should be proud as well for what he has done.

@laydeejol: ohhhh great! Enjoy! They will have a stuffed pigeon dish soon which you can order. Do give it a try! :)

Anthony said...

Thanks for your post.

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