Sorry friends, it’s been a too long a hiatus again between posts, but life has caught up with me of late and reduced the amount of time I’ve had to cook and post. I did however manage to find the time to visit a dear friend in Shanghai recently and by the by, had several sumptuous meals.
The first of these was at the utterly delectable Jean Georges, where, for a fraction of the price one would have to pay at the main Jean Georges restaurant in New York, we got to feast on seven courses of the dégustation menu featuring the restaurant’s signature dishes. This excluded the (not very little) petit fours that came at the end of the meal in spite of our enormously satisfied tummies.
First up was Egg Caviar. This consisted of the most perfectly done scrambled eggs topped with cream and utterly sinful beluga caviar. The harmonious balance of flavours between the otherwise simply-done eggs and the luxurious briny caviar brought out the best of both foods and provided a wonderful start to our meal.
This was followed by Sea Scallops with Caper-Raisin Emulsion and Caramalised Cauliflower. The scallops were delicately grilled to just the right doneness and nicely complemented by the cauliflower. Far less rich than the first dish, but just as delicious.
We were then presented with the delightful Young Garlic Soup with Thyme and Sautéed Frogs Legs. You can just about see the tiny, crisply-fried frogs legs in the background of the photograph. These were then bathed in the delicately flavoured soup. These proved so delicious that I could have honestly eaten far more frogs legs than the two pieces provided. But then, room had to be left for more delights to come.
We moved onto something light – Turbot with Château Chalon Sauce, Tomato and Zucchini. My dining companions didn’t find too much to shout about this dish, but I found the lightly cooked fish with the slightly winey tasting sauce a nice balance to the rich flavours we’d been receiving so far. My plate was again wiped clean.
Then came one of my favourites (vying neck to neck with the Egg Caviar) – Lobster Tartine, Lemongrass, Fenugreek Broth and Pea Shoots. Every single component of this dish was simply perfectly done. The tomato-based broth which was lightly flavoured with fenugreek provided a great accompaniment to the lobster leg. The pea shoots, done to al dente crispness, lent a nice healthy aspect to the dish.
Just when we thought we couldn’t consume any more, our main course arrived – Broiled Squab served with Onion Compote, Sautéed Foie Gras and Corn Pancake. This was a heavy but flavourful dish. Perhaps by this stage, I was feeling just a little too full to appreciate the wonders of the (again) perfectly done squab but persevere I did and polished off my entire serving. It is a testament to the high standards of the chef that every single component of all the dishes so far was cooked with thoughtfulness and commitment to excellence. Nothing was out of place, nothing was sloppily presented and nothing was overcooked nor underdone.
I couldn’t of course roll out of the restaurant without sampling Jean Georges’ famous and trend-setting Molten Chocolate Cake. This came presented with a scoop of ice-cream and chocolate sauce (as if it needed more enhancement) and THREE other desserts. Needless to say, we were horrified, but ate everything nonetheless. I could see why this was the grandaddy of all the molten chocolate cakes that have come after it. Rich, just the right texture for breaking open with the spoon and the perfect amount of molten warm chocolate sauce flowing out of it to be lapped up in delight. Not to be outdone were the other desserts – Strawberry Jelly with Frozen Strawberries and Cream, a Three-layer Liquid Chocolate Delight that was sucked up with a straw, and a Citrus and Hazelnut Mousse Cake which could have easily been the star of any other restaurant’s dessert menu. At this stage, the strawberry dessert was the favourite of my dining companions for the tart relief it gave to our exhausted tastebuds.
Of course this was subsequently undone by the petit fours (of which we just had to try one of each) and the homemade mini macaroons. A filling but fitting end to a fabulously sumptuous meal. Luckily we were able to walk the length of the Bund after that to work a tiny fraction of those calories off….
Floor 4, No. 3, Zhongshan Dong Lu