Most of us are used to drinking champagne to mark an occasion, but it’s not every day that we get to experience a menu dedicated entirely to champagne. We were intrigued when we got the chance to preview Chef Vicky Lau’s appropriately named Ode to Madame Clicquot amuse-bouche and menu in an effort to create an experience reflecting Veuve Clicquot’s legendary rosé champagne blend.
Prior to Madame Clicquot’s creation, rosé champagnes were made by colouration using elderberries. She decided to replace the berries with the red wine grapes that she liked from the Bouzy region of Champagne. Made using 50–60 different crus, the cuvée is based on the Yellow Label’s traditional blend, with up to 48% Pinot Noir.
In a nod to Madame Clicquot’s innovative techniques and to honour the 200th anniversary of the house’s rosé champagne, Chef Lau’s selection of amuse-bouches offers a modern take on the classic dim sum cart. Featuring four amuse-bouche bites set in a mini version of the traditional steamer, each is meant to accentuate the notes of the rosé blend.
With Veuve Clicquot winemaker Gäelle Goossens leading the tasting between courses as part of the concept’s launch, we were inspired by the collaborative pairing and the chef’s touches that heightened the taste of the food and complemented the fun pink hues of the Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne NV without overpowering the notes of fresh red fruits and brioche. Between bites that disappeared quickly, amongst our favourites were the baby white shrimp with shrimp meringue, which melted in the mouth and were apparently inspired by the bubbles in champagne, and the olive sablé with red date cream, a delicate, flaky biscuit morsel that was a delicious combination of sweet and savoury, with the bitter, salty taste of the olive and the sweet red date representing the three years that the non-vintage rosé spends maturing in the cellar.
The following courses, or “chapters” as Tate Dining Room & Bar prefers to call them, are clearly a thoughtful tribute to the elements of the Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne NV and the decidedly more copper-hued 2008 vintage served with the pairing. Without having the constraints of ingredients, style or method, Chef Lau’s balanced menu concept offered a decadent orchestration of food that began with Ode to Balance, featuring a flower crab with salted egg yolk cream, and ended on a sweet, high note with Ode to Clementine, a reference to the widow Clicquot’s daughter, complete with chiboust and honey-ice-cream-filled clementine skin confit that burst with flavour.
A beautifully seasoned pan-fried oyster served with seaweed risotto and pan-fried Challandais duck with winter melon duck consummé helped to round off the meal (and our stomachs). Paired with the vintage 2008 rosé champagne, which had less acidity than the NV rosé, the more mature, deep, heady notes of strawberry and cherry, balanced by minerality and subtle notes of cinnamon and vanilla with a satisfyingly long finish, offered a balanced structure to complement a substantial protein like the duck.
As Chef Lau put it, “The taste of innovation really struck a chord with me; this curiosity was inspired by Madame Clicquot’s strong-willed character, where, throughout her years at the house’s helm, she is known for being a great innovator.”
While we wouldn’t pair every meal with champagne, Tate Dining’s Ode to Champagne pairing offers a fresh look at a 200-year-old legacy. We’ll definitely be back.
Available for a limited time during the month of April 2018 at Tate Dining Room & Bar. Priced at $1,680 for eight chapters with amuse-bouches, with wine pairings from $480 featuring Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne. Our meal courtesy of Geneviève Co and Tate.
210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2555 2172/9468 2172 (WhatsApp)
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