We have been huge fans of Épure since they arrived in Tsim Sha Tsui's Harbour City last year. We were particularly excited when we received our invitation to this special French Mediterranean culinary journey they have planned with two-Michelin-star chef, Michel Portos. A self-proclaimed food purist, Chef Portos has built a foundation on serving creative, yet simple cuisine using the highest quality produce, not unlike Épure's own head chef, Nicolas Boutin.
Chef Portos brings over three decades of experience in French Mediterranean cuisine and two Michelin stars, the first from his restaurant Côté Théâtre in France’s Mediterranean city of Perpignan, and the second, awarded to him in 2009, at Saint-James in Bordeaux. For this special visit, he and Chef Boutin designed an eight-course tasting meal ($1988 HKD), with meat, seafood, and vegetables sourced specially from France.
If you've never dined at Épure, the bread basket alone might be enough to warrant a trip. Loaded with a heavenly black-pepper comte croissant, a savoury Kalamata olive roll, and a delicious French baguette, there was no better way to start our meal.
The bouillabasse miniature amuse bouche was spectacular; offering a rich seafood broth, topped with a pan-seared red gurnard (a Mediterranean fish), baby squid, and a saffron cream.
L'huitre Gillardeau grillee croquante, a grilled oyster from the renowned Gillardeau family in France arrived next, and was seasoned well with courgette (zucchini for you Americans), green apple, and an artisan oil. The oyster was fresh, briny, and the garnish provided a tangy, umami balance to the seafood.
Look at all that delicious bread. Don't pass on the croissant!
The bouillabase amuse bouche, complete with baby squid, and a red gurnard fish
The grilled oyster Gillardeau with courgette, apple, and "Huilerie Beaujolaise" artisan oil
The langoustine with a green tea emulsion was our favorite dish of the entire meal. The salt-water decapod was roasted beautifully, and the sweet, tender meat was complemented well with a bit of pistachio nut, and the delicate green sauce.
To complete our seafood courses, we were surprised with a pan-fried rouget with artichoke, and a caramelly 12-year old Modena balsamic vinegar. The red mullet, sourced from the Mediterranean, was delightfully fresh and flavourful, offering an almost mineral-like quality which provided a great balance to the sweetness of the artichokes and the thick, syrupy vinegar.
Chef Portos' signature dish for the meal is the pieds paquets 2016, which features lamb (sourced from Marseilles) - three ways. We're instructed to eat the lamb tart (filled with minced lamb tendon) first, followed by the lamb chop (roasted to a tender medium-rare), and to finish with the "packet", which features herbs and mustard seeds wrapped by a delicately braised piece of lamb stomach, accompanied by an orange, white-wine, and tomato reduction.
The last part of the trio might sound a bit adventurous, and it was. This "packet" is a traditional dish local to southern France, and usually takes chefs a full day to make. There is great skill involved in creating something so special, and we very much enjoyed this local delicacy.
We concluded this beautiful meal with la tropézienne kumquats, which is made with orange blossom cream, brioche, kumquats confit, and almond. Imagine the sweetness of the candied kumquats intersecting with the mild creaminess of the orange blossom cream, all tied together with a fresh piece of brioche. Yes.
Roasted langoustine with a green tea emulsion and pistachios
Fresh, flavourful red mullet flown straight from France
Marseilles Specialty Lamb three ways - a more adventurous dish including tripe and tendon
Delicious, refreshing candied kumquats and orange blossom cream on brioche
We absolutely loved this regional French Mediterranean meal and hope that some of you readers who enjoy fine dining will be able to get a booking for this amazing experience.
As we mentioned above, Chef Portos' special tasting menu will only be available in Hong Kong between 3-5 March. Reservations are limited, so if this is interesting to you at all, we suggest you book right away.
Shop 403, 4/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Website / Tel: +852 3185 8338
Hours: Lunch (Mon-Fri): 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm; Dinner (Mon-Sat): 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm;
Weekend (Sat-Sun) Brunch: 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm