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Bo Innovation, Hong Kong

smoked quail egg with caviar

smoked quail egg with caviar

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of a chef’s table tasting at “Bo Innovation” in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Chef Alvin Leung, a self taught chef from London and of Chinese origin, recently received 2 Michelin stars for his cousin.

I was very excited to taste the innovative, Chinese inspired menu he titles X-treme Chinese, but to take the point away upfront: while the restaurant definitely is worth a visit, I would have expected a bit more!

Two things are noteworthy beforehand:

1. the restaurant only has two choices of menus – the chef’s tasting for the whole table and a tasting menu that is – while also quite elaborate – not as extensive as the chef’s tasting. Vegetarian versions can be had upon request.

2. the menu changes only every 6 months!

The restaurant itself is on the smaller side: 28 seats inside plus a chef’s table of 6 and 28 seats outside (al fresco) and another 12 in a private dining room. Located on the second floor of the building at 60 Johnston Road, this is a very Hong Kong typical location with all things being vertical (one needs to get to the entrance via an elevator). On a Friday night, the restaurant wasn’t fully booked.

All in all the food certainly was good with some outstanding dishes. The pairing was on the  mediocre side. I have to admit that this may have had to do with the fact that the pairings probably were created based on the regular menu version and not for the vegetarian one. However, since there are only 2 menu versions per year, I would expect that a Michelin star clad restaurant can pair accordingly in both cases…

But now here the high-lights:

the smoked quail egg (in the picture above) was outstanding! I had it without the caviar, and even then it was really good. I didn’t taste much of the smoke, but the flavor was fabulous!

the morel vermicelli with onion foam were a real delight, and the “Shangri-La” yak’s milk dish with black truffle trulywas worthy of its name, it did remind of paradise!

The almond sandalwood dessert, which came in a covered glass bowl, smoking out of the container once opened and releasing its tantalizing flavor, also was an unforgettable experience!

For me, those 4 dishes were heaven, the other 11 (the chef’s tasting has 15 courses) were good, but not as memorable as the formerly mentioned ones above.

The price HK$1,080 (HK$880 for the vegetarian version) and another HK$600 for the wine pairing is definitely money well spent! In US$ that is about 140, 110 and 75 (the HK$ to the US$ is about 7.8 to 1).

The next time you are in Hong Kong, definitely stop by Bo Innovation – it is worth a visit!


secret supper club

secret supper club...secret supper club…

Stay tuned for news on my latest plans for a secret supper club! I am still pondering the right name for it and the how, where and when, but I am sure it’ll happen! All friends of my culinary art are going to receive a separate personal invite to ensure that the club stays secret… More soon!!!


Chianciano Museo d’Arte Biennale

Chianciano Museo d'Arte

Chianciano Museo d'Arte

The Chianciano Museo d’Arte Biennale exhibition, where three of my paintings are on display, got a write up in the New York Times:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/travel/13headsup.html?scp=1&sq=chianciano&st=cse

and if you are interested, here is also a video on YouTube about the museum:

http://www.youtube.com/user/museodarte

also if you would like to see the exhibition catalogue (one of the other participating artists was kind enough to put it online), please check it out online at:

http://issuu.com/juliettevanbavel/docs/artistpages?mode=embed&layout=http%3A//skin.issuu.com/v/light/layout.xml

My work is on page 12 –  enjoy!


Culinary Evening at Valhalla

Valhalla Restaurant & Bar in Mumbai

Valhalla Restaurant & Bar in Mumbai

On October 27 at 9pm at Valhalla restaurant and bar – a new hip and happening place in Churchgate – will become the setting for a a culinary evening featuring my composition of a 9-course gourmet vegetarian dinner with wine pairing!

Reservations can be made at +91-22-6735-3535. The dinner is offered for INR 3,000 and if you like a wine pairing you can add it for INR 2,000. Yes, there are still bargains to be had in fine dining in Mumbai!

Stay tuned for the menu, pictures of the event and everything noteworthy about the hip crowd attending!


pink peppercorn pasta

pink peppercorn pasta pink peppercorn pasta

here is the recipe for one of my recent discoveries and I dare to say it is quite the revelation:

pink peppercorn pasta with pink peppercorn pesto

No, there is no such thing as too many peppercorns – well, there is of course, but this recipe is sure to please:

ingredients for the for the pasta:

2 cups of flour (00 if you can find it or very, very finely ground flour – regular or whole wheat)

3 egg yolks

2 eggs

sea salt

3 tablespoons of dried pink peppercorns

water

instructions:

pile the flour on a working surface (the kitchen counter is fine – make sure it is clean!). Grind the peppercorns – grind as finely as you like, but if you leave them somewhat coarse the flavor comes out better. Make a mold in the middle of the flour heap and add ground peppercorns. Separate the 3 eggs (keep the egg whites for your breakfast omelet) and add yolks to the flour and pepper. Add a healthy pinch of the sea salt. Start to knead the mixture together. It is quite messy in the beginning, but the flour will start to absorb the egg yolks and the whole mixture will get crumbly. Once that happens, make a new heap with a mold in the middle and add the two remaining eggs. Keep kneading. The whole mess will start to stop sticking to your fingers and you will get a smooth and silky dough. If you feel you need more moisture, add some water, but be very careful not to use too much. If the mixture gets too wet, add more flour. Keep kneading for 5 minutes more than you think necessary. This also helps to burn off some of the calories you will add back when eating the pasta afterwards.

Roll the dough out to about 1mm or 1/16″ thick and cut in strips. You can make any shape you like, but I prefer pappardelle for this recipe. About 3/4″ wide or about 2cm. Keep the length somewhere between 2 and 3″ or 6 to 10cm. Flour them lightly when you set them aside while working the rest of the dough, otherwise the strands are sticking together.

ingredients for the pesto:

3 table spoons of dried pink peppercorns

extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan (about 3 table spoons)

sea salt

instructions:

grind the peppercorns (see above), grate the Parmesan (in this case you want it relatively fine), add the sea salt and top off with olive oil that everything is nicely doused in the oil. Stir and add more oil if necessary. Taste and add accordingly more cheese, salt or oil. Set aside.

Boil the pasta in salt water – this will only take a few minutes since the pasta is fresh. If you don’t want to turn your hard work into mush, drain them pretty much right after they are coming up to the surface of the boiling water. 

Put pasta in a bowl, pour pesto over it and gently stir the pasta that the pesto covers every pappardelle strand. Add some peppercorns for decoration if you like. Add more Parmesan for taste.

Enjoy!